How The Iconic Diner Scene From Heat Influenced Heat 2

Director Michael Mann delivered one of the greatest crime films ever in 1995 with "Heat," the filmmaker's heist epic that centers on detective Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino) and expert thief Neil McCauley (Robert De Niro). The movie's reputation has only grown in the years since its original release and, to that end, Mann recently released a sequel in the form of a novel, "Heat 2," which he co-wrote alongside Meg Gardiner.

In crafting the new story — both a sequel and a prequel to the original — one of the best scenes in the original movie was considered a great deal. Specifically, in a recent conversation with our own Jack Giroux in honor of the release of "Heat 2," Gardiner explained that she thought a great deal about the infamous diner scene between Hanna and McCauley while writing the book.

"[T]he more you watch it, and the more I've talked to Michael about it and have him go through what was in his mind for the story at that moment, you see how much is unsaid. They're not just having a cup of coffee. They're two predators and they both go in with an agenda and they both want to learn as much as possible as they can about the other guy. And the surprising thing that happens in that scene is that they realize how much they have in common. And there's this respect and rapport that develops, which is remarkable."

The underlying importance

Indeed, despite everything that happens in "Heat," including quite possibly the single greatest shootout in cinema history, it is two men on opposite sides of the tracks having a conversation at an unassuming diner that is widely considered to be the best scene in the film. But Mann injected so much character into that scene that everything that happens after the fact carries so much more weight and meaning. Given that the novel serves as both a sequel and a prequel, character is important. That scene offers our best understanding of both men, so taking it into account makes every bit of sense.

"I always kept that in mind, that Neil and Hanna are both very conscious of who they are and what they want, what they're after, and how to go about getting it," Gardiner added. But aside from the fact that they're both extracting information, the author also gets to the heart of the matter, which is a quiet respect that develops between the two. Sure, they're both opposed to one another by nature, but they're also both incredibly good at what they do and, in that scene, we come to understand the quiet respect that exists between them. If there is one scene in this 90s classic that told us a sequel was worth doing, this was it.

"Heat 2" is out now.

One day after the end of Heat, Chris Shiherlis (Val Kilmer) is holed up in Koreatown, wounded, half delirious, and desperately trying to escape LA. Hunting him is LAPD detective Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino). Hours earlier, Hanna killed Shiherlis's brother in arms Neil McCauley (De Niro) in a gunfight under the strobe lights at the foot of an LAX runway. Now Hanna's determined to capture or kill Shiherlis, the last survivor of McCauley's crew, before he ghosts out of the city. In 1988, seven years earlier, McCauley, Shiherlis, and their highline crew are taking scores on the West Coast, the US-Mexican border, and now in Chicago. Driven, daring, they're pulling in money and living vivid lives. And Chicago homicide detective Vincent Hanna—a man unreconciled with his history—is following his calling, the pursuit of armed and dangerous men into the dark and wild places, hunting an ultraviolent gang of home invaders. Meanwhile, the fallout from McCauley's scores and Hanna's pursuit cause unexpected repercussions in a parallel narrative, driving through the years following Heat.