The series chronicles the beginnings of the hip-hop era, which started in the Bronx in the late 1970s, and features performances from Shameik Moore (“Dope”), Jimmy Smits (“L.A. Law”) and newcomer Yahya Abdul-Mateen II.
Smith plays a graffiti writer named Dizzee, one of the few stars in a cast filled with unknowns, some of whom Luhrmann plucked straight from the Bronx.
“In 1977, disco was reigning and soaring,” Luhrmann told Vogue. “Rock was really decadent. You’ve got Son of Sam, terrorism, an oil crisis, crazy cults. Elvis dies… And in this year, in an outer borough, kids are doing this stuff that no one cares about. . . How, with so little, did this singular creative gesture that would go on to change the world get born?”
Grandmaster Flash acts as a consultant on the project, providing on-set guidance to the “Moulin Rouge!” director and to the actor who plays him — newcomer Mamoudou Athie. “I’m going to open up all my secrets [to him],” the rapper, now 58, said of the young actor who will play him on screen.
Parties, disco gear, and the start of hip-hop fashion are all depicted through Luhrmann’s trademark colorful lens.
“The world needs to know that the seventies were a blueprint for everything in hip-hop,” Flash told Vogue of the 13-show series, featuring a soundtrack mixed with songs new and old.
“The Get Down” premieres Friday, August 12.