The actor shared his thoughts at the Tribeca Film Festival reunion panel for Michael Mann's 1995 crime masterpiece.
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At the Tribeca Film Festival's star-studded premiere of the new 4K restoration of Michael Mann's Heat, the first couple hundred attendees were surprise-gifted a copy of Heat 2, the upcoming prequel/sequel novel to the crime-drama.

Co-written by Mann, the project details the backstory of indefatigable detective Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino) and smooth criminal Neil McCauley (Robert De Niro), also revealing what the characters who survive the film get up to in the years that follow the events of Heat.

Which begs the question: Could Heat 2 be adapted into its own film someday? And if so, who should play the younger versions of Hanna and McCauley?

Panel moderator Bilge Ebiri put this very question to De Niro and Pacino, and while De Niro didn't have an answer (he was, as usual, pretty taciturn in the face of interview questions), Pacino sure did.

"Timothée Chalamet!" Pacino shouted, to cheers from the audience.

BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 27: Timothée Chalamet attends the 2022 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Radhika Jones at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on March 27, 2022 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage); NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 19: Actor Al Pacino poses for a picture during the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival "Scarface" reunion at the Beacon Theatre on April 19, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/WireImage)
Al Pacino thinks Timothée Chalamet could play a younger version of him in a 'Heat' prequel.
| Credit: Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage; Bennett Raglin/WireImage

It was quite a rambunctious crowd — the panel questions were frequently interrupted by audience members shouting lines from the movie or just yelling affirmations like "I love you!" at the two iconic movie stars.

Funnily, a different production has already tackled the question of who should play a young Pacino. Paramount+'s The Offer, the recent miniseries about the making of The Godfather, starred actor Anthony Ippolito as 1970s Pacino. The real Pacino, it turns out, is a big fan of the miniseries — and was disappointed to learn that De Niro hasn't watched it yet.

Mann was originally supposed to attend the panel alongside Pacino, De Niro, and Heat producer Art Linson, but bowed out at the last minute after he tested positive for COVID-19. Instead, Mann sent a video message that played before the event, in which he discussed some of the effort that went into the new restoration.

"We spent two weeks going through every shot," Mann explained in his prerecorded message. "It wasn't just color timing. We affected differences between light and shadow in many, many places within the framing."

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 17: Al Pacino and Robert De Niro speak on stage at the "Heat" Premiere during 2022 Tribeca Festival at United Palace Theater on June 17, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Tribeca Festival)
Al Pacino and Robert De Niro discuss 'Heat' at a Tribeca Film Festival screening.
| Credit: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty for Tribeca Festival

But even without Mann on hand, Pacino and De Niro were able to discuss some of their favorite memories of shooting Heat. Though Mann's films are known for their authenticity and jargon taken from interviews with real cops and criminals, Heat also included some improvisation — at least when it came to Pacino's scenes.

Regarding the famous delivery of the line "she's got a great ass!" Ebiri noted that Hank Azaria's look of horror in that scene is real, since he had no idea Pacino was going to say it.

"How about this: I didn't know I was going to do it!" Pacino said with a laugh.

The new 4K restoration of Heat is available Aug. 9.

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