Baz Luhrmann‘s Netflix series “The Get Down” has cast its first four male leads: Tremaine Brown Jr., Justice Smith, Shameik Moore and Skylan Brooks will make up the rag-tag group of teenagers who run wild in the streets of the late-1970’s Bronx.
Brown Jr., 14, will play Boo-Boo. A mechanically-minded kid who wants to get down, he is an irrepressible 40-year-old in a 14-year-old body. Aspiring rapper and dancer Brown was discovered while performing in the New York City subway.
Smith, 19, plays Ezekiel, a smart, resourceful teen brimming with untapped talent and unrequited love who is determined to make his mark in the world. Smith also stars in “Paper Towns,” which will be released by Fox 2000 this June.
Moore, 19, takes on Shaolin Fantastic, a child of the streets; thrill-seeking, unpredictable and eccentric, but above all, enigmatic. He also stars in 2015 Sundance film “Dope.”
Brooks, 16, plays Ra-Ra. A loyal, respected, protective friend and brother with his head screwed on tight, he’s the voice of reason beyond his years. Brooks stars in film “The Inevitable Defeat of Mister & Pete” and will next be seen opposite Jake Gyllenhaal and Rachel McAdams in Antoine Fuqua’s “Southpaw.”
“The characters these young actors play in ‘The Get Down’ unwittingly become a band of brothers. Any great group is always made up of distinctly different characters, and the actors we are privileged enough to invite into the roles of Ezekiel, Shaolin Fantastic, Boo-Boo and Ra-Ra all have the distinction of being from such diverse backgrounds — from performing in subways in the Bronx to the music scene of Atlanta and of course Los Angeles,” Luhrmann said.
He added: “I know they’re collectively on the beginning of a thrilling journey with a big story to tell.”
Luhrmann will direct the first two episodes and the season finale, and serve as executive producer. The series is also executive produced by Catherine Martin, Paul Watters, Thomas Kelly, Stephen Adly Guirgis, Shawn Ryan and Marney Hochman.
“The Get Down” focuses on 1970’s New York City: “broken down and beaten up, violent, cash strapped — dying,” per Netflix’s description. “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.”
The streaming company continued: “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.”
The 13-episode music-driven drama from Sony Pictures Television will debut in all Netflix territories in 2016.