This summer, Baz Luhrmann follows up his unique take on The Great Gatsby with another East Coast period piece, this time taking us to ’70s New York, where the trousers are flared, the shirts are colorful and the musical landscape is undergoing an immense transformation. This is The Get Down, a TV series a decade in the making, chronicling the rise of hip-hop in one of America’s most musical cities. Here are some things we can expect to see (and hear) from the Netflix original series.
Check out The Get Down trailer below:
Plenty of Original Music
From Moulin Rouge – where classic pop songs were changed to fit 1890’s Paris – to The Great Gatsby, featuring new songs from Lana Del Ray and Florence Welch, Baz Luhrmann has been known for spicing up his narratives with vibrant and exciting music. Just don’t expect it to be era-specific. Luhrmann likes to meld different historical periods together, saying of his latest that:
“While our production is a musical that embodies many classic hits, we also use contemporary sounds and techniques connecting the dots between then and now.”
With executive production from Nas and Grandmaster Flash, and new music from Miguel and Christina Aguilera, it seems as if Luhrmann wants to show how the incredible music from that era laid the way for today’s hip-hop dominance.
A Different Side To ‘70s New York
’70s New York has been host to some classic cinematic offerings such as Scorsese’s nihilistic Taxi Driver and Sidney Lumet’s cop-thriller Serpico, showing how the gritty pre-Giuliani city was considered by many to be a den of iniquity. Here we can expect this nostalgia piece to take its cues from ’70s New York cinema, yet with Luhrmann’s naturally flamboyant style imbuing it with romanticism.
Additionally the traditional narrative of the time will be countered by focusing on those African-Americans who worked so hard to make the city the highly innovative place we know it to be today.
Free Reign for Baz Luhrmann
Making a TV series for Netflix means a certain level of creative control rarely offered to most people working in the industry outside of HBO. The budget – a whopping $120 million dollars spread across twelve one-hour episodes— has the highest cost per episode yet afforded to a Netflix series, equalling the ten million an episode spent on Game of Thrones’ sixth season.
Luhrmann, who is known from his extravagant narratives, must surely put all this money to good use, creating an epic canvas of hip-hop and disco in its infant stages. Luhrmann has apparently spent ten years developing the concept – will he put all that time to good use, or will this be television’s Heaven’s Gate?
A Fantastic Cast
Many an excellent TV series relies upon its acting chops, and with the talent on offer here, The Get Down has the potential to be great. The predominately black cast has a possible star-making role for relative newcomer actor and rapper Shemeik Moore, who will play the eccentrically named Shoalin Fantastic, a young kid of the streets looking to make it as a musician. His love interest and (judging from the electric trailer) fantastic singer in her own right will be played by Herizen Guardiola in her acting debut.
They will be accompanied by veteran and all-round legend Giancarlo Eposito, who plays a pastor known for his passionate sermons. Having achieved such fame for his villainous role as drug baron Gus Fring from Breaking Bad, here’s hoping he channels some more of that same terrifying brilliance.
What do you guys think? Will this be the next major Netflix hit?
Have realised my dream of finally living in Berlin. I like movies, techno, and talking too much in bars.