Netflix has given a 13-episode series order to musical drama The Get Down from Baz Luhrmann, marking the Romeo + Juliet and The Great Gatsby director’s first music-driven project since the 2001 Moulin Rouge! as well as his first TV series. It is set to debut in 2016.
The Get Down has been a long-time passion project for Luhrmann, who teamed for it with The Shield creator Shawn Ryan. Sony TV, where Ryan is under an overall deal, is the studio. The project has been in the works at Netflix for over a year, after Luhrmann, Ryan and Sony TV took it out in December 2013. A writers room was set up months ago to work on the 13 scripts. In anticipation of a formal green light, the project also recently brought in casting directors who had been exploring possibilities for the young leads.
The Get Down will focus on 1970s New York City – 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. From Bronx tenements, to the SoHo art scene; from CBGBs to Studio 54 and even the glass towers of the just-built World Trade Center, The Get Down is a mythic saga of how New York at the brink of bankruptcy gave birth to hip-hop, punk and disco — told through the lives and music of the South Bronx kids who changed the city, and the world…forever. Here is a teaser:
Luhrmann will direct the first two episodes and the season finale and serve as executive producer. Ryan also executive produces alongside his producing partner Marney Hochman.
Luhrmann has brought with him a key feature collaborator, his wife, Oscar winner Catherine Martin (The Great Gatsby, Moulin Rouge!), who will serve as costume and production designer and executive producer on the series. Paul Watters (Luhrmann’s Australia); Thomas Kelly (Copper) and Stephen Adley Guirgis (Motherf***er With The Hat) also serve as executive producers.
“In this golden era of TV, the Netflix culture puts no constraint on creative possibilities. So it is a natural home for The Get Down, a project I have been contemplating and working on now for over 10 years,” Luhrmann said. “Throughout, I’ve been obsessed with the idea of how a city in its lowest moment, forgotten and half destroyed, could give birth to such creativity and originality in music, art and culture. I’m thrilled to be working with my partners at Sony and collaborating with a team of extraordinary writers and musicians, many of whom grew up with and lived the story we’ve set out to tell.”