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