Michael Mann has always been a skilled translator of prose to the screen, having adapted such literary standards as The Last of the Mohicans, Manhunter, and Collateral for moviegoers too cool to be bothered to crack open a book, because reading is for nerds. Like Stanley Kubrick before him and Paul Thomas Anderson slightly after him, Mann understands how to get at the very essence of a work of literature beyond simply moving the dialogue from page to page. And in Mann’s newest endeavor, he’ll attempt to reverse that process, seeing if he can’t transform film back into literature.

Nope, it’s not a thoroughly misguided novelization of the film The Last of the Mohicans based on the novel The Last of the Mohicans, but rather an all-new imprint called Michael Mann Books that will publish all-new novels both based on an and set to inspire the work of the great director. It’s a sort of Michael Mann idea factory: a stable of writers and editors will pick through the properties of his filmography, and draw up new ideas branching off from those, which will in turn become new Mann films and begin the process all over again. Deadline broke the news yesterday afternoon, citing a planned example of a prequel novel detailing the events leading up to his 1995 masterpiece Heat, which Mann would then consider as a feature-length directorial project. The novel would focus on the formative years of Robert De Niro and Al Pacino’s characters as they rose through the ranks of the criminals and cops.

Reading Michael Mann’s screenplays is an illuminating experience, shedding new light on his every film through fleetingly poetic descriptions, asides, and direction. He‘s got a clear flair for language, and though he won’t write these books himself, his film easily lend themselves to strong prose. Now, we have nothing left to do but patiently await Blackhat: the Novel.