Word is out that Baz Luhrmann is developing a new hip-hop-themed dramatic series that will air on Netflix titled The Get Down. The cutting edge and imaginative filmmaker, best known for Moulin Rouge and the recent remake of The Great Gatsby, is actually making his television series debut with this project. He is set to direct the first two episodes.
In a press release, Netflix describes the upcoming program: “[It] focuses on 1970s New York—broken down and beaten up, violent, cash-strapped—dying. Consigned to rubble, a rag-tag crew of South Bronx teenagers are nothings and nobodies with no one to shelter them—except each other, armed only with verbal games, improvised dance steps, some magic markers and spray cans. The Get Down is a mythic saga of how New York at the brink of bankruptcy gave birth to hip-hop, punk and disco.”
One interesting aspect of the show is that it will chronicle the spread of hip-hop from its roots, in the slums of the South Bronx, to trendy celebrity-frequented clubs like Studio 54, to the conservative environment of the newly constructed World Trade Center.
Shameik Moore, who just had his big break with the film Dope, will portray the eccentric, thrill-seeking street kid Shaolin Fantastic. Skylan Brooks (Southpaw) is cast as the wise and protective Ra-Ra. Justice Smith, of the highly anticipated Paper Towns, plays the ambitious, smart and resourceful Ezekiel. In the role of the irrepressible and mechanically minded teen Boo-Boo is impressive newcomer Tremaine Brown Jr., an aspiring rapper and dancer who was discovered by the casting team when he was performing in the New York subway.
Luhrmann talked about the actors who have been cast, saying: “Any great group is always made up of distinctly different characters, and the actors we are privileged enough to invite into the roles of Ezekiel, Shaolin Fantastic, Boo-Boo and Ra-Ra all have the distinction of being from such diverse backgrounds. I know they’re collectively on the beginning of a thrilling journey with a big story to tell.”