Why Al Pacino's Acting Is So Over The Top In Heat

Al Pacino Heat

After a long enough career, certain performers become icons, and these icons tend to develop trademark acting styles. One such actor that has developed an incredibly unique (borderline insane) method of acting is none other than Al Pacino. One of his most boisterous performances (to put it mildly) came in the 1995 classic heist film, Heat. As it turns out, there's a very good reason for Pacino's eccentric performance, and it all has to do with his character's less than savory habits.

THR reports that Christopher Nolan recently hosted a Q&A session after a screening of Heat, during which Michael Mann, Robert De Niro and Al Pacino himself joined him on stage. Nolan delved into the duality of the film's lead characters, and questioned both De Niro and Pacino regarding how they reconciled the differences between Lt. Vincent Hanna (Pacino) and Neil McCauley (De Niro). Anyone who has seen Heat will tell you that Pacino's character is the more animated of the two, and that's because of one very specific thing: Lt. Vincent Hanna is a coke head. That's right, the hero of Heat has an affinity for that illegal white powder. However, Pacino didn't reveal whether or not he went full method for the role, so we'll have to keep wondering.

Having never actually revealed this fact about this character, it seems that that such a secret has weighed on Al Pacino's mind for quite some time. The actor told the crowd at the Q&A session that he has actually waited years to admit to Hanna's particularly nasty habit. He said:

I've waited to say this for a long time, just so you know where some of his behavior comes from.

So there you have it. Al Pacino played Hanna as a cokehead in Heat, which allowed him to be the more "exuberant" of the two lead characters. That definitely explains how Michael Mann was able to get such an utterly insane performance out of him. Just take a look at that classic Heat moment below:

Looking back, it's almost embarrassing that we didn't figure out this whole cocaine thing sooner.

However, while that explains Al Pacino's behavior in Heat, but it doesn't necessarily explain the reason why his other characters from that era share similar traits. Pacino started his mainstream acting career as the very levelheaded Michael Corleone in 1972's The Godfather, but over time his characters became more and more boisterous with each passing film. By the time he reached 1992's Scent of a Woman, he had reached the point where his characters had developed instantly iconic catchphrases. "Hooah" comes to mind. We now know what made Vincent Hanna tick, but we've still got a long way to go towards figuring out Pacino himself.

What do you think of this new revelation? Do you like the idea of Pacino's character from Heat using cocaine, or do you think that's the wrong direction for the film? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

Conner Schwerdtfeger

Originally from Connecticut, Conner grew up in San Diego and graduated from Chapman University in 2014. He now lives in Los Angeles working in and around the entertainment industry and can mostly be found binging horror movies and chugging coffee.