Everything You Need To Know About The Netflix Series The Get Down
Netflix’s most expensive project to date, The Get Down, premieres today. Helmed by Baz Luhrmann of Moulin Rouge!, The Great Gatsby and Romeo + Juliet fame, the 12-episode series loosely chronicles the birth of hip-hop. Set in the South Bronx in the year 1977, the mythic, lavish saga follows a group of ambitious teenage boys who end up changing their city and the world at large with their hustle and unbridled creativity. It stars some newcomers, like Justice Smith, Herizen F. Guardiola, Mamoudou Athie and Yahya Abdul-Mateen, as well as acting vets like Giancarlo Esposito and Jimmy Smits. Will you tune in? Here’s everything you need to know about The Get Down, the first six episodes of which are now streaming on Netflix.
Did I say The Get Down is Netflix’s most expensive project to date? Correction. The Get Down is one of the most expensive shows in television history. The initial budget was $7.5 million, but the final budget came in around $120 million. His first TV project, director Baz Luhrmann almost quit because the process – from production to excessive rewrites – was so hectic.
No relation to Jaden Smith, also in The Get Down, Justice Smith plays a character named Ezekiel “Books” Figueroa, an aspiring MC and book lover.
You’ll remember Shameik as the lead in Rick Famuyiwa’s indie drama Dope. He plays Shaolin Fantastic in The Get Down, a thrill-seeking DJ who, according to Moore, is very much like a superhero.
Jaden Smith plays Dizzee Kipling, an eclectic graffiti artist. Fitting for the son of hip-hop royalty.
Herizen F. Guardiola
Guardiola plays Mylene Cruz, a rising disco singer and pastor’s kid who comes from a very strict home. The actress listened to a lot of Donna Summer, Diana Ross and Cher to prepare for the role.
Nas serves as an executive producer on the show and created the music for each episode. He also narrates the action via rap, of course.
Veteran journalist and hip-hop head Nelson George was also involved in the writing and served as a supervising producer.
Not only is Grandmaster Flash a character in The Get Down, but the real GF, born Joseph Saddler, was an associate producer on the show. One day while on set, Grandmaster Flash called out a scene for being inaccurate. Here’s what Luhrmann had to say about it in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter:
One scene where they’re doing the DJing, Flash came and said that it wasn’t right. I wasn’t on the set at the time and I said, well, how can that be? They hadn’t actually used the music — they didn’t put the music on — and that was odd. Flash said, ‘We’ll get destroyed out there in the hip-hop community,’ and I said we’d reshoot it. I went back and I lobbied to say that we have to get it right. Because it’s not my story. Because this is a living history. I owe it to this community that has let me in to make sure we do everything we can to make sure that we are honorable and do the very best we can to tell their story and curate their stories.
The Get Down’s costume designer, Jeriana San Juan, utilized archive photos from well-known hip-hop photogs Jamel Shabazz and Joe Conzo in order to put together authentic looks and designs for the characters – from Pumas to gold medallions, polyester suits and everything in between. She even referred to old JCPenney, Sears and Montgomery Ward catalogs.
If The Get Down gets a second season, Luhrmann says it would focus on the ‘80s.