HIP-HOP HOORAY

Ac­claimed di­rec­tor Baz Luhrmann’s stylish new TV se­ries The Get Down tack­les an epic mu­si­cal story – the birth of Amer­i­can hip-hop

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - TV - JOHN CARUCCI

As Baz Luhrmann walks on set for the press day of his first tele­vi­sion se­ries, The Get Down, he can’t sep­a­rate his pro­fes­sional self from his per­sonal self and set­tles in by di­rect­ing his own in­ter­view.

Ever so apolo­get­i­cally, the Aus­tralian film­maker makes sug­ges­tions to the crew and even asks for a mon­i­tor to see how the shot is be­ing framed. Af­ter ges­tur­ing to the cam­era op­er­a­tor that it was a lit­tle wide, he sug­gests the reporter move closer to the right to cre­ate the op­ti­mal eye line.

It’s that at­ten­tion to de­tail that Luhrmann has been as­so­ci­ated with through­out his ca­reer, ev­i­dent in such films as Moulin Rouge! and The Great Gatsby.

Now he’s tack­ling the early years of hip-hop as told through the myth­i­cal eyes of sev­eral young peo­ple liv­ing in the mid-1970s south Bronx.

The 13-episode se­ries takes place be­fore a hit record made its way into the main­stream. Luhrmann serves as the show’s ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer, writer and di­rec­tor. He worked closely on the project with writer Nel­son Ge­orge, ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer Nas and Grand­mas­ter Flash, por­trayed in the show.

Luhrmann says he took on the story be­cause he was driven to an­swer a ques­tion: “How did so much pure and new cre­ativ­ity come out of a mo­ment where this city seemed to be on its knees, in such trou­ble?”.

“The more I went down that road into the story look­ing for the an­swer, the more I wanted to find a way to not put my touch on it, but just to cu­rate a way for that story to be told be­cause most peo­ple think this form of mu­sic came out in the ‘80s.”

Luhrmann says his ear­li­est me­mories of the era date back to the 1970s. “What was so fas­ci­nat­ing was it was more my rec­ol­lec­tion of New York. In 1977, I had a friend that came back from New York, and I said, ‘What’s it like?’ and he said, ‘Oh man. It’s amaz­ing. Just wear a coat and don’t look any­one in the eye be­cause it’s that dan­ger­ous.’ Disco was huge ... And there was punk. So that re­ally stuck in the back of my mind. And then years later, I went on to work with great peo­ple from the hip-hop world. I made a record with Jay Z, Gatsby. That was one of the great­est col­lab­o­ra­tions.” The Get Down, avail­able on Net­flix from to­mor­row

Baz Luhrmann's new Net­flix mu­sic drama The Get Down pre­mieres to­mor­row.

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