Tribeca 2022 Retrospective Screening: Heat (1995)

On Friday, June 17, 2022, Tribeca 2022 held a retrospective screening of crime drama Heat (1995). The film in which Robert DeNiro plays a master criminal pursued by an obsessive Los Angeles detective played by Al Pacino was written and directed by Michael Mann and produced by Art Linson. Classic Couple attended the screening at United Palace in a packed house of film fans.

Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino, Michael Mann, Art Linson
Credit: Tribeca Festival 2022

Before the screening, journalist and filmmaker Bilge Ebiri moderated a conversation with stars Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and producer Art Linson. Snippets from the conversation follow.

When asked bout the iconic coffee shop scene in the film:

Al Pacino: Several people have asked me about working with Bob. It’s like you can do anything. He’s going to hear it and he’s going to react to it. It’s going to connect. And that’s a real luxury to be with someone like that because no matter what you do, he picks up on it and he’s there. He’s back at you and you’ve got to keep hitting the ball against the other person.

When asked about the rest of the cast in the film:

Al Pacino: Some of the films that have lasted and are still around are because of the ensemble. Casting certain actors at certain moments. Of course, it’s Michael’s concept or his vision. A lot of it’s got to do with the casting and a good casting director so smaller roles stand out. That way your attention is always moving.

Bilge Ebiri, Art Linson, Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro

When asked about preparation for the shootout scene:

Robert DeNiro: Well, we shot it on the weekends. I think Saturday and Sunday, downtown because those streets were busy during the week. For a few weekends, I forget how many but a few. It was a fun level of precision. The way Michael executed the thing with the people who taught us all this stuff from training when it was not seen before is very special. Memorable.

Art Linson: Michael wanted the specificity when you see actors shooting machine guns. There was a training to get every specific detail. It took everybody practice. Michael wanted to make sure that it was like for real. I think that helped the accuracy.

Robert DeNiro: Yeah, we were in a bank and were actually using live rounds. Actual live rounds and practicing.

Al Pacino: That sound was like a concert by Michael. Because Michael said to me at some point that the police at that time were trained as offense. And they weren’t used to training in defense. The big criminals or professionals out there could always go out knowing that. Cops had other reasons why they had to be defensive. The reason they’re firing back is the citizens are in jeopardy. That’s what I think elevates the terror.