The crew from Netflix’s The Get Down took the stage at Day 1 of TCA to talk about their upcoming series, the musical saga about the rise of hip-hop in the last days of disco seen through the eyes of South Bronx kids.
C0-creator/director Baz Luhrmann recalled the idea coming to him 10 years ago while sitting in a Paris restaurant. “I saw a framed photograph of these two kids and they were in hip-hop stances from what I thought was from the ’80s. I remember thinking, ‘How did so much creativity come in that moment at that time? How does something completely new, so totally unexpected, come about?”
The series follows a rag-tag crew of teenagers who 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. “Here is the biggest year of recording history through music that is disco, but in this borough where there is so little and the world had forgotten, these young people are so inventive with whatever that had,” Luhrmann told critics, emphasizing the importance of telling the story through their eyes. “It’s not my story — I feel like I just curated it.”
The creatives went to great lengths to ensure an authentic portrayal of the era. Much training went into intricate details like the way microphones were held, or the way to spin a record. “[Baz] wanted to do the organic years,” said Grandmaster Flash, the iconic MC and an associate producer on the series, which is from Sony Pictures TV. “This is the missing years of what has now become a billion-dollar business, so the question is, if hip-hop is the cake then I cannot tell you how many people took a slice of that cake… But I can tell you about the recipe because I am one of the bakers.”
Flash also praised Luhrmann for keeping it real. “All the questions [Baz] asked, I see it vividly on the screen. When we did this in the ’70s, we didn’t record it. Now this particular era can become the talk of the culture.”
Joining Luhrmann and Flash on the panel was supervising producer Nelson George and co-stars Shameik Moore, Justice Smith, Herizen Guardiola, Jimmy Smits and Yahya Abdul Mateen II.
Luhrmann originally envisioned this project as a film but found the story was “too epic” and “vast” and needed the new world of programming a streaming service offered. “Netflix offered this incredible canvas. They are like, ‘House Of Cards was really successful, what can you do that’s not like anything else?’ “
The first six episodes of the 13-episode Season 1 of The Get Down premieres globally on August 12 at 12:01 AM PT.