The actor improvised a lot on the set, sometimes in a “wild” way, says the director.
You have seen and reviewed Heat since its release in 1995? If you see him again this evening on Arte, be attentive to the reaction of Hank Azaria facing the anger ofAl Pacinobecause his surprise is very real in the face of the actor who lets go like never before.
Interviewed by variety on the occasion of the presentation in a few days of his new film, Ferrariat the Venice Film Festival, Michael Mann also returns to the manufacture of Heat, of which he recently wrote the sequel, in the form of a novel. He thus explains his way of working with Al Pacino, the interpreter of Lieutenant Vincent Hanna against the gangster Neil McCauley, played by Robert De Niro. Their duo scenes have become cult, but it is another sequence that the filmmaker details more particularly here.
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In Heat, Hank Azaria (David in Friends) plays a supporting role: he plays Alan Marciano, the lover of Charlene (Ashley Judd). And he has to deal with one of the most memorable bloodshed of Pacino’s career. Arriving unexpectedly in his office, Hanna starts yelling at him about the “goddess ass” of his mistress, eyes bulging, and leaves him speechless, in shock.
“Al’s best catches are always sixth or seventh, never first two, comments Michael Mann, laughingly recalling the shooting of this scene. He experiments a lot, and often after five, six or seven takes, there is a little change. After that, what he delivers is absolutely fantastic.”
The journalist from variety details that sometimes, even when the filmmaker had validated a scene, he asked for an additional take. A take “savage” during which he could let go completely. Mann always said yes to him, but with regard to this particular sequence, he forgot to warn Hank Azaria of this mode of operation. “Sometimes that take was brilliant, sometimes terrible, we read in the rest of the article. Often she was hilarious. Alas, for this one, it was Azaria’s first day on set.”
“I forgot to tell him that we used to do that, acknowledges Mann. Al freaked him out, he thought he was losing control in front of him. That shocked look he has in that scene, that amazement, that’s really Azaria’s reaction to seeing Pacino go completely off-script to go wild. (laughs)”
Michael Mann also returns to a rumor that has long run about Lieutenant Hanna: yes, this character is addicted to cocaine. If the public quickly realized that he was not in his normal state during the investigation, the film never shows it openly, and Al Pacino only confirmed this detail. for the 20th anniversary of the filmduring a reunion with Mann and De Niro.
The director reveals in this regard to have filmed a passage where he was clearly consuming drugs, before cutting it in the editing, because “It was far too strong a message.”
Here is the trailer for Heata thriller also worn by Natalie Portman and Val Kilmer, to be seen again tonight on Arte:
Heat: LA Takedown, the TV movie that served as a model for Michael Mann’s cult film