Director Baz Luhrmann has recently opened up more about his first television series, The Get Down, which is set to come out on Netflix in 2016.
Luhrmann has succeeded as a big budget auteur with films like Romeo + Juliet and most recently The Great Gatsby that reinterpret classic literature with extravagant twists. Netflix’s investment into original television content from another well-known director shows the company’s commitment to maintaining its market dominance in the field of streaming video on demand.
The Get Down sounds well-suited to the Luhrmann treatment as it focuses on the emergence of hip hop culture in the ’80s when New York City was perhaps at its lowest point with four times as many murders per year as there are now. Specifically, the series centers around South Bronx teens with little hope for a conventional future who instead turn to break dancing, rapping and graffiti writing as refuge that serve as impetus for a hip hop culture that soon sweeps the nation.
In an attempt to preserve integrity for the subject matter, Luhrmann has launched the website TheGetDownCasting.com for African-American and Latin@ men and women ages 18-21 without agents or previous acting experience to submit online auditions. The demonstrated goal is for the show to not only feature established actors, but also young people with relevant talent to contribute to the show but without any showbiz connections.
Being a show about hip hop, music will be a central focus with classical hits as well as new compositions from as of yet unnamed musical partners in order to provide a range of quality music that made previous productions like Moulin Rouge! a blockbuster hit. Plans are for the series’ first season to begin in the late 1970s with the disco that formed the basis for hip hop and to end in the early 1980s.
Luhrmann himself plans to direct the pilot and then the final two episodes of the season, in addition to executive producing. His crew’s background is diverse — from playwrights Radha Blank and Seth Zvi Rosenfeld as writers to producers from Australia and The Shield. Luhrmann also plans to work with frequent collaborator, and wife, Academy Award winner Catherine Martin as production and costume designer.
There are no confirmed actors for The Get Down, but shooting will start in May.
Read Luhrmann’s interview with Vulture here.