Watch: 'Mann Made: From LA Takedown To Heat' Profiles Michael Mann On The Origins Of His Cop Classic

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by Charlie Schmidlin
June 18, 2013 11:21 AM
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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.

Watch the full movie of "L.A. Takedown" below, and then check both parts out of the documentary here and here (sorry, no embeds available). [via Cinephilia and Beyond]

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2 Comments

  • skip | June 19, 2013 6:57 PMReply

    This side-by-side documentary should be required viewing for every movie critic at the Playlist to understand exactly what advantages time, budget, and access to good actors big filmmakers enjoy and just how much the deck is stacked against independent directors. Gee, suddenly "Heat" doesn't look that great when it's shot in 19 days with a tiny budget and actors who'll work for scale, does it?

    Maybe this'll help guys like Gabe Toro learn to review small movies with a modicum of understanding about what it takes to get a movie actually made.

  • droop | June 18, 2013 4:51 PMReply

    awesome. best fucking movie

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