The Get Down: Why the Netflix series took almost two years to shoot
When it finally debuts Friday on Netflix, Baz Luhrmann’s The Get Down — about the birth of hip-hop in late ’70s in New York — will have been in production for almost a year and a half. Consisting of only 12 episodes, that’s an incredibly long shooting time for a television series, and Down’s budget — a reported $120 million — is equally massive.
Luhrmann, best known for films like Moulin Rouge and The Great Gatsby, originally only planned in sort of overseeing the Down production or being “Uncle Baz” as he puts it. But the director became the driving creative force behind the series. Says Lurhmann, “It became evident from everyone that I would have to be involved in almost every aspect of this show and so I don’t know if I’m the show runner, but I certainly do a lot to do with the show and I’m always running. So, you know?”
But with that came a lot of learning curves, and Luhrmann admits Down taking so long to come to the screen is partially his fault. “I just had to say, ‘Look we’re gonna have to just halt shooting because I can’t be available to every person,’” admits Luhrmann of the production breaks. He adds of the challenges, “It’s being pulled in a hundred directions and never feeling that it’s concluded. There’s always something starting while you’re finishing something — you know? It’s simply the time. I mean I don’t want to sound like the whiner, right? But let’s say somebody else told you that I have not had a weekend off in eighteen months. I work seven days a week because that’s what it needs. That’s what it takes.”
Viewers will get a chance to see if all the blood, sweat and tears were worth it when the first six episodes of The Get Down debut Friday on Netflix.