“Baz Luhrmann and the rest of “The Get Down” crew brought a blast of old-school enthusiasm to the Television Critics Association press tour on Wednesday as they talked up the spirit of the Netflix series set amid the rise of hip-hop and rap in the South Bronx in the late 1970s.
The overarching theme that drives the series is the sense of unbridled possibility that youths felt at a time when most of New York City was struggling with crime and urban decay, Luhrmann said Wednesday during Netflix’s TCA presentation at the Beverly Hilton. Those social ills were even more pronounced in the South Bronx, and yet it became the crucible of a creative explosion that reverberated around the world.
“These young people did not (innovate) because they thought they were going to get rich or the they would see their graffiti in museums one day. They were doing it because the city was saying ‘You don’t exist.’ They did it because it was a way of saying ‘We exist.’”
Behind the scenes, “Get Down” had a difficult birth and stands as Netflix’s most expensive original series production to date. Luhrmann and others detailed the meticulous process of researching, developing and producing the show. Hip-hop pioneer Grandmaster Flash was enlisted early on to advise on his experiences. “Get Down” begins in the summer of 1977.
Speaking Wednesday, Flash admitted he was unfamiliar with Luhrmann’s work before getting the call from the Australian director.
“He said he felt like something like this should be told — this is the missing years of what has now become a billion-dollar business,” Flash said of his conversation with Luhrmann. He jumped at the chance to be involved once he realized how dedicated Luhrmann was to getting it right…”