In the category of ‘Things To Be Excited About In 2016,’ The Get Down has to be near the top of that list, for two very simple reasons: Netflix and Baz Luhrmann. For the first time, we will see a marriage of this groundbreaking streaming platform, and this award-winning filmmaker, as he delivers the first part of his musical drama. This is a series that Luhrmann has been reportedly developing for an entire decade – but it seems he has finally found the right home for the project, and we now have a trailer for it.
The Get Down depicts the rise of hip-hop, punk and disco, against a backdrop of a New York City that is simultaneously giving birth to Bronx housing developments, Studio 54, CBGB, and a rapidly expanding skyline. The narrative plays out through the lives of a group of teenagers who are trying to keep up with the changing society in which they live, and the culture developing through it. While that may sound mildly interesting – and not entirely dissimilar to the latest television production from Martin Scorsese, titled Vinyl – it is the union of Luhrmann and Netflix that draws the attention.
Baz Luhrmann is renowned for his unique visual style, and his use of music within his projects (Moulin Rouge!, Romeo + Juliet, Strictly Ballroom) – the deft blending of which creates a feast for the senses, and a viewing experience that is at once immersive and interactive, rather than detached. Having his latest work disseminated by Netflix means that this sensory master would have the scope and resources to pull out all the stops, and make something very special.
Then, there’s the casting. As is the Baz Luhrmann way, there are some recognizable faces, but there are more that are relatively unknown. Jimmy Smits (Sons Of Anarchy), Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad), Yolonda Ross (Meadowland) and Jaden Smith (After Earth) are among the familiar, while Justice Smith (Paper Towns), Skylan Brooks (Southpaw), Herizen Guardiola (Runaway Island), Shameik Moore (Dope), newcomer T.J Brown Jr, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (Crescendo) and Mamoudou Athie (Madam Secretary) all have the chance to prove their skills before a potentially sizeable audience.
The first part of The Get Down will comprise of 13 episodes, running for one hour each, and Netflix plans to release it on its service later this year.