Trivia / Heat

  • Actor Allusion: In both this movie and True Lies, Max Daniels plays a thug wielding a Steyr TMP who is shot and wildly fires his gun into the air as he goes down. Here, it actually happens before Shiherlis shoots him in the back, as he is unable to get steady footing.
  • All-Star Cast: Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Val Kilmer, Tom Sizemore, Danny Trejo, Jon Voight, Ashley Judd, Ted Levine, Wes Studi, Henry Rollins, William Fichtner, Natalie Portman and Tone-Loc. The ensemble cast is filled with stars and very recognizable character actors.
  • Cast the Expert: Dennis Farina, a former Chicago police officer, was a consultant on the film since the story was based on a Chicago police officer and criminal. Farina had previously played a Chicago cop in Michael Mann's television series Crime Story.
    • Danny Trejo, who plays a member of the crew, has in real life been an inmate at Folsom Prison, just as Neil in the movie.
  • Creator Backlash: Michael Mann disowned the TV version aired by NBC. Mann offered to restore seventeen of the cut minutes, NBC decided to instead cut 40 minutes of the film out in order to fit a 3-hour TV time-slot - Mann said, "You can call it a Michael Smithee or an Alan Mann movie."
  • The Danza: Danny Trejo as... Trejo. He has no first name, but we are pretty sure we know what it is.
  • Deleted Scene: These scenes, cut for time constraints but featured on the DVD release:
    1. "Season's Starting Early": Cheritto is seen purchasing hockey masks that the crew uses for the armored car robbery. He also buys a dollhouse for his family. The clerk tells him it's a little early to be playing hockey, but Cheritto says "season's starting early this year." The scene would have fallen after the scenes of Neil stealing the ambulance and Shiherlis buying explosives.
    2. "Nicest Guy on the Block": Cheritto arrives home, plays with his children, gives his wife a packet of money, then looks mystically dazed.
    3. "Albert and Hanna": Alternative take of Hanna's meeting with Albert Torena
    4. "Shakedown": Hanna and Sgt. Drucker try to rattle the cages by pressing a shady TV repairman named Cuzomano. Hanna even makes an Angels with Dirty Faces shoutout by quoting James Cagney's line "Whaddya hear, whaddya say." His name, Cuzomano, is inplied from looking at early versions of the script. In the final film, Cuzomano is only mentioned in passing at the armored car robbery crime scene when Hanna says he's one of the usual fences they will check.
    5. "Murder in C Block": Expanded version of Hanna's conversation with Richard Torena, with Richard providing an illustrative example of how Cheritto's ruthlessness extends behind prison bars.
    6. "Let's Dance": Extended version of the scene where Hanna and his wife Justine are dancing
    7. "Late Arrival": This scene, cut from the final film, starts with Neil, Shiherlis and Trejo talking. Cheritto arrives late, says he's found the police surveillance bugs installed on his car, and makes a few guesses as to how the cops found them.
    8. "Where's Ana?" Probably the most telling of the deleted scenes. The scene starts with Donald Breedan dropping Neil, Shiherlis and Cheritto off in front of the bank. Breedan asks Neil if the doors should be opened or closed, and Neil assures him that with no police response time, the getaway will be a simple cruise up the street. Meanwhile, Trejo arrives at his hillside house. He walks in, and finds several of Van Zant's thugs, including Hugh Benny and Waingro, waiting for him. This confirms to us that he has been blackmailed into betraying Neil. Trejo confirms that the robbery is going down, though he also makes clear that he knows how Neil will react if he finds out he's been double-crossed. Hugh Benny then calls the police with the tip that will cause the big climatic shootout. Throughout, Trejo constantly asks for his wife's whereabouts, which Waingro shakily denies. It then dawns on Trejo, and he runs into the next room, followed by Waingro, wielding a baseball bat. Based on the way the scene ends, it's likely that this last shot would have immediately been followed by the shots of Neil and his crew entering the bank.
    9. "Double the Worst Trouble": Expands the scene between Neil and Dr. Bob right before the "Take off your shirt" line. Dr. Bob informs Neil that he'll need a double fee for Shiherlis's treatment because they are wanted criminals, which Neil does not approve of.
    10. "Nate Delivers": A new informative scene between Neil and Nate going over Neil's new "out" that Nate's prepared for him.
  • Doing It for the Art: Rather than dubbing in the gunshots during the bank robbery shootout, Michael Mann had microphones carefully placed around the set so that the audio could be captured live. This added to the impact of the scene because it sounded like no other gunfight shown on screen.
  • Dueling-Stars Movie: How the movie was sold. Al Pacino and Robert De Niro, two of the most iconic actors in the world, star and share scenes for the first time ever. As most people know, The Godfather Part II had both sharing credits but not any scene.
  • Enforced Method Acting: Hanna's line "She's got a... GREAT ASS! And you got your head all the way up it!" was improvised—the surprise on Hank Azaria's face was genuine.
  • I Am Not Spock: When actor Kevin Gage was imprisoned for 2 years in 2003, he was universally addressed by fellow inmates and prison guards as 'Waingro', his character from this movie.
  • Playing Against Type: Ted Levine as Hanna's close friend Det. Bosko, a decent, honourable cop. A little jarring, since he's best known for playing a Serial Killer in The Silence of the Lambs. And Captain Stottlemeyer on the small screen.
  • Race Lift: In the original script, Eady was Chinese.
  • Similarly Named Works: The 80s film with Burt Reynolds and Peter MacNicol is probably best remembered for having the same name as this film.
  • Throw It In:
    • Reportedly, Al Pacino ad-libbed the "I hear she's got a GREAT ASS!" line when interrogating Marciano. The look of shock on Hank Azaria's face is genuine.
    • Ted Levine also apparently ad-libbed the story his character tells about a classmate of his named Raoul.
  • What Could Have Been: The movie languished in Development Hell for years, Mann made a TV series pilot called "LA: Takedown" that is basically the same script condensed to 90 minutes rather than just short of 3 hours, but on an 80's crime show budget. It followed the same beats almost exactly, down to Vincent holding a mother back from seeing her dead daughter and Patrick (the name of Neil's character) trying to kill Waingro outside the diner and him slipping away when a police cruiser passes by. Most notably, the tv show kept the focus more exclusively on Vincent and Patrick, instead of expanding upon the lives of near everyone on both sides.
    • Earlier versions of the script show things were changed significantly. Trejo's name was originally Towner. Nate getting caught by Hanna and facing accessory charges for the armoured car robbery and the bank robbery. The armored car robbery has a different street location and the escape is a lot tighter as the crew actually rams several police cars escaping after shooting the three guards. Originally, instead of Bosko dying during the shootout Schwartz was to die, who instead was shot in the shoulder by Cheritto. The shooting at the drive-in movie theater has Neil spot the assassin creeping up to the shotgun side window and react in the nick of time. Shiherlis was not stationed on the roof of the projection building, but is instead with Cheritto by the exit gate to shoot the driver. Also, much like Trejo, Neil would have done a Mercy Kill on the assassin.
    • Keanu Reeves turned down the role of Chris to tread the boards in Winnipeg playing Hamlet for the minimum theatrical wage. Johnny Depp was offered the role, but his asking price was too high. Jean Reno was also considered.
    • Michael Madsen was originally cast as Michael Cheritto, but was ultimately replaced (for unknown reasons) by Tom Sizemore. Jean-Claude Van Damme was also considered at one point.
    • Don Johnson was briefly considered for the part of Michael Cheritto. He was also discussed as a possible back-up for both Robert De Niro and Al Pacino, if one of them turned down their parts.
    • Kris Kristofferson, in what would have been an obvious nod to Thief and Willie Nelson's character in that movie, was suggested for the role of Nate.
    • Nick Nolte and Jeff Bridges were discussed as a possible alternative for the two leading roles. Harrison Ford and Mel Gibson were also considered.
    • Initially, Michael Mann shopped the script to Walter Hill to direct but Hill turned him down.
    • An ending discussed featured Neil and Vincent shooting and killing each other instead of Vincent shooting Neil. Mann didn't like the idea and therefore it was not shot.
    • In an early draft of the script, Vincent Hanna had a cocaine habit, which, according to Pacino, explains his bombastic outbursts.
    • A video game adaptation was reported to be in development around 2009 but never came to fruition.