With 2009’s “Public Enemies” a distant misstep now, and only the pilot for the cancelled HBO series “Luck” completed since, director Michael Mann is nonetheless slowly approaching another resurgence, this time with two projects: the untitled cyber thriller with Viola Davis and Chris Hemsworth (now shooting), and the recently rewritten historical drama, “Agincourt.” But while we wait for the next effort from the helmer, why not take a look back at the curious journey of arguably his most famous and accomplished film: the 1995 cops-and-robbers drama, “Heat.”
The 17-minute BBC documentary, “Mann Made: From LA Takedown To Heat,” consists of an extended interview with Mann, where he recounts the stripped-down version of his 180-page screenplay for “Heat,” in a 1989 made-for-TV quickie called “LA Takedown,” as well as his unhurried workflow. “The amount of time I take between projects is not a method; it’s an irritant,” he says. “I would much prefer to direct two films in three years, or three films in three years, but finding something I want to do next is very difficult.”
In many ways, “LA Takedown,” starring Scott Plank and Alex McArthur in the roles later inhabited by Robert De Niro and Al Pacino, was an unintended trial run with Mann for “Heat” — from tightening the script and characters, to working out the logistics and impact of the later film’s intense, sprawling action sequences. The doc shows side-by-side examples from each film, and with Mann’s commentary on both films and his “two protagonists who have a high regard for one another,” it remains one of the most in-depth interviews the filmmaker’s given.