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How will Netflix’s The Get Down move forward with a second season without co-creator Baz Luhrmann steering the ship? That’s a question many are wondering after the second part of season one was released in early April — and it’s one the Romeo + Juliet and Strictly Ballroom director was eager to answer Thursday on the red carpet for The Get Down’s Emmy For Your Consideration event.
“For two years it’s been my life. Now, just by contract, I owe other things,” Luhrmann tells The Hollywood Reporter. “I have to be further back. We have great plans going forward.”
Those plans will simply be executed by the team he’s built around the show and whomever steps in as showrunner, should Netflix opt for a second season of the pricey 1970s-set hip-hop drama. “We’ve built the language together. Now they own the language,” he says. “I’ll be hands-on to the extent that an uncle would be, as opposed to a father figure.”
The Get Down, which originally had Shawn Ryan (The Shield) attached as showrunner, has had a complicated road to the screen. The drama, produced by Sony Pictures Television, was in the works for months before Netflix so much as confirmed it existed. The project was hit with multiple production delays and turnover as Ryan exited the expensive series, which is said to have gone way over budget. While the writers are prepping a second season, casting calls have also gone out in recent months ahead of what producers hope is a season two renewal.
One thing is for sure, though — like hip-hop itself, Luhrmann expects the show and its storytelling to constantly evolve as it moves forward. “We said we’ve got to find a form that’s very like hip-hop, and hip-hop is about continually referencing and taking three different things and making a new form out of it,” he says.
It’s that mindset that led to the creative shift between parts one and two of the first season, which saw the introduction of animated sequences from the mind of Dizzee (Jaden Smith). “The Dizzee thing, because he’s so poetic and living in his own internal world, the idea that his poetry and his comics — originally it was just going to be static comics, but you couldn’t do that kind of magical realism on that level with digital effects and things,” Luhrmann explains. “It was so much better to do it as a ‘70s comic book like the Jacksons. And that came out of listening to the show.”
For Luhrmann, evolving the show’s storytelling and visual style is what helps portraying that these young musicians are growing up. “In the beginning of the first section they’re kids. So we tell it quite naively, quite sweetly,” he says of part one. “Even though it’s only a year later, it’s fall. We start in summer and now it’s fall. In a way, it’s more like three years went by, but it’s only one year. So they’re more complicated, there’s more reality coming into their lives.”
As for where the story goes next, the co-creator and executive producer is playing his cards close to the vest. While Netflix has yet to order a second season of the show, the creative team is already working on developing the next chapter of the story they want to tell. It just won’t be with Luhrmann — who considers himself more a “curator” of the series than anything else — at the helm.
“I can’t let it go, but I can’t be at the center of it,” he says. “And I think it’s not right for me anyway. It’s born. All I wanted to do was make sure it got born.”
The Get Down is streaming on Netflix.
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