The first six episodes of Netflix’s new 1970s hip-hop show go online on August 12 – here’s all you need to know
Baz Luhrmann is in the director’s chair
Romeo and Juliet and Moulin Rouge! maverick Luhrmann has pretty quiet since 2013’s The Great Gatsby, but he’s been beavering away on this epic 12 parter, which looks at the lives of teenagers in New York’s South Bronx area set against the birth of hip-hop in his typically flamboyant, musically-driven style.
Nas wrote raps for the show
The ‘Illmatic’ icon was on executive producer duty, which meant he ended up penning bars for the show’s main character Ezekiel “Books” Figuero (played by Justice Smith). “I’m just a super fan of the old school and the golden era, and so it just felt like I couldn’t have asked for a better project to be involved with,” a giddy Nas told Rolling Stone.
It cost serious bucks
Netflix’s most expensive series to date, The Get Down is reported to have cost a whopping $120 million (£91 million). For a single series, that seems pretty pricey, but Luhrmann downplayed the cost to Hollywood Reporter saying, ”It wasn’t cheap. But I don’t think it’s the most expensive show. I think it’s on the high end of storytelling.”
Hip hop icon Grandmaster Flash was on fact check duty
To make sure the late 1970s NYC world was perfectly rendered, the legendary DJ Grandmaster Flash was called upon for his first hand knowledge of the decade. Flash also appears as a character in the show, as played by Mamoudou Athie.
Jaden Smith plays a graffiti artist
In a cast of relative unknowns, Jaden Smith is perhaps the show’s biggest name. The teenage progeny of Will Smith plays graffiti artist Marcus ‘Dizzee’ Kipling and even went a bit method while preparing for the role, taking lessons from original NYC artist Lady Pink.