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New York's Hip-Hop scene 1970s - 80s
Martha Cooper via

Baz Luhrmann to direct epic NYC hip-hop drama for Netflix

The streets are alive! With the sound of muuuuuusic

The Great Gatsby director Baz Luhrmann is set to direct a sprawling hip-hop drama set in 1970s New York for Netflix. The 13-episode series, described as a "mythic saga" by the Hollywood Reporter, traces the story of a ragtag crew of South Bronx teenagers "armed only with verbal games, improvised dance steps, some magic markers and spray cans" as they make their way through a broken-down city that subsequently gives birth to hip-hop, punk and disco.

So basically... Do The Right Thing with big song and dance routines? The Get Down will be Luhrmann's first musical project since 2001's Moulin Rouge, which grossed close to $180 million at the box office and introduced the concept of absinthe to a generation of clueless teenagers. The Netflix series premieres in 2016. 

What does Baz "Gatsby in 3D" Luhrmann know about hip-hop in the Bronx, you may ask? Let Baz enlighten you, because he's been working on this project for ten years! That's longer than Biggie's actual recording career (1993 – 1997)! 

"I've been obsessed with the idea of how a city in its lowest moment, forgotten and half-destroyed, could give birth to such creativity and originality in music, art and culture," Luhrmann said. "I'm thrilled to be working with my partners at Sony and collaborating with a team of extraordinary writers and musicians, many of whom grew up with and lived the story we've set out to tell."

Oviously, The Get Down could turn out great and a totally faithful dramatisation of New York's great cultural renaissance in the 70s. But it seems odd that it's fallen to a white Australian man to tell what is essentially a story about black culture, art and music – especially at a time when ethnic diversity in filmmaking is more hotly-debated than ever, and in an age of great black directors like Scandal showrunner Shonda Rhimes and Selma filmmaker Ava DuVernay.

Maybe we're being too harsh. What do you think?   

You can watch the teaser for The Get Down below: