8:00am PT by Lesley Goldberg
Netflix Sets Cast for Baz Luhrmann Hip-Hop Drama 'The Get Down' (Exclusive)
Netflix is turning to a crop of rising stars for its upcoming Baz Luhrmann hip-hop drama The Get Down.
Dope breakout Shameik Moore, Paper Towns' Justice Smith, The Inevitable Defeat of Mister & Pete's Skylan Brooks and newcomer Tremaine Brown Jr. will star in the period drama from Luhrmann and Shawn Ryan, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
According to a Netflix press release: "The Get Down focuses on 1970s New York — broken down and beaten up, violent, cash strapped — dying. 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. From Bronx tenements, to the SoHo art scene; from CBGB 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 — as told through the lives and music of the South Bronx kids who changed the city and the world … forever."
Brown will play Boo-Boo, "a mechanically minded kid who is an irrepressible 40-year-old in a 14-year-old's body." Brown, 14, is an aspiring rapper and dancer from the Bronx, "who hones his craft by performing in the New York subway, where he was discovered by The Get Down's casting team."
Smith is set as Ezekiel, "a smart, resourceful teen, brimming with untapped talent and unrequited love, who is determined to make his mark in this world." From Anaheim, Calif., Justice stars in John Greene adaptation Paper Towns, due in June from Fox 2000. He's repped by Clear Talent Group, Kohl Group and Myman Greenspan.
Moore, who starred in Sundance hit Dope, is playing Shaolin Fantastic, "a child of the streets, thrill-seeking, unpredictable, eccentric but above all, enigmatic." The 19-year-old actor, born and raised in Atlanta, earned rave reviews for his breakout role in Dope. He's repped by ICM Partners, Artistic Endeavors, Osbrink Talent and McKuin Frankel.
Brooks, meanwhile, is set as Ra-Ra, "a loyal, respected, protective friend and brother with his head screwed on tight, he's the voice of reason beyond his years." The 16-year-old L.A. native earned nominations from the Acapulco Black Film Festival and Black Reel Awards for his role in Defeat. He will next be seen opposite Jake Gyllenhaal and Rachel McAdams in Antoine Fuqua's Southpaw. He's repped by Allagash Entertainment and Hirsch Wallerstein.
"The characters these young actors play in The Get Down unwittingly become a band of brothers," Luhrmann said. "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. I know they’re collectively on the beginning of a thrilling journey with a big story to tell."
Making his television series debut, the Moulin Rouge! writer-director-producer will helm the first two episodes as well as the series finale and executive produce alongside Emmy nominee Ryan (The Shield, Terriers). Academy Award winner Catherine Martin (Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby, Moulin Rouge!) will serve as costume and production designer. She joins fellow executive producers Paul Watters (Australia), Thomas Kelly (Copper), playwright Stephen Adley Guirgis (Motherf***er With the Hat) and Marney Hochman (Terriers). It is Luhrmann's first musical endeavor since Moulin Rouge! The Sony Pictures Television-produced entry will premiere in all territories in 2016.