Baz Luhrmann's 'The Get Down' earns a Netflix series order
Set against the backdrop of 1970s New York City, the Sony Pictures Television series will focus on the socio-economic conditions that led to the rise of punk, hip-hop and disco "told through the lives and music of the South Bronx kids who changed the city, and the world...forever."
Luhrmann, an Oscar nominee for "Moulin Rouge!" and most recently director of "The Great Gatsby," will helm the first two episodes and the season finale in what will be his first foray into TV (or whatever it is that Netflix is).
"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 states. "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."
The project has been in development on the sly for a while and has already assembled a strong team, including Catherine Martin, Luhrmann's multiple-Oscar-winning wife and frequent collaborator, as costumer, production designer and executive producer.
Paul Watters, Thomas Kelly, Stephen Adly Guirgis, Shawn Ryan and Marney Hochman are all set as executive producers.
With that impressive team of scribes, it's tempting to wonder who, exactly wrote "The Get Down," at least the pilot, since this is the first press release for a series order that I've ever seen that doesn't specifically designate a scribe or scribes.
I inquired. There's no clear answer.
“From his very first and magnificently original steps on the world stage with 'Strictly Ballroom' to his most recent with 'The Great Gatsby', Baz conjures worlds we may not recognize initially, but once there, realize they are infused with the same dreams of every person - to belong, to matter, to live life to its fullest," blurbs Cindy Holland, president of original content for Netflix. "We are thrilled to support Baz, Catherine and Paul and their team in their quest to illuminate those same dreams through the artists who came of age in the cauldron of the Bronx in the late 1970s."
Does that suggest that Watters, who worked with Luhrmann on "Australia," might be the other key storytelling force? Hard to know.
Perhaps more than some cable networks, Netflix has been interested in director-centered projects, with David Fincher earning initial "House of Cards" attention over Beau Willimon or Eli Roth getting "Hemlock Grove" centrality over whoever wrote "Hemlock Grove." It's hardly been the rule, of course, with "Orange Is The New Black," "Bloodlines" and a slew of other Netflix offerings reaffirming the centrality of the writer-producer.
Want one last blurb?
"Baz is an artist in the truest sense, whose talent and vision resonate across mediums. There is no better filmmaker and storyteller to draw us into this world of the forgotten and oppressed residents of the Bronx who rose up and fought back to create and define culture and music for decades to come," state Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht, presidents of programming and production for Sony Pictures Television.
"The Get Down" will premiere on Netflix at some point in 2016.
Netflix was prepared enough for this announcement to generate a thematic trailer: