HOST 1: New York City renowned as a living movie set. But in recent years, shoots for cinema and television have been focused in Brooklyn and Manhattan.
HOST 2: Now the Bronx is the center of attention. In May, filming will begin on ‘The Get Down’ a Netflix original series, created by filmmaker Baz Luhrmann. Alistair Gardiner reports.
This morning, down at The Ghetto Film School in the South Bronx, producers of ‘The Get Down’ told a small but excited crowd about their plans for the show. Executive producer, Thomas Kelly, says audience can expect a coming-of-age tale rooted in a tumultuous era in the Bronx.
KELLY: The show is gonna about three kids growing up in the Bronx in the 1970s and their journey through the next couple of decades. and it’s going to be an aspirational story about kids coming from somewhat difficult circumstances…
‘The Get Down’ will tell the story of a violent era, which saw the birth of hip-hop and the grafitti scene. The production promises to put the Bronx back on the cultural map. And the filmmakers today said that they want residents of the Bronx to play a part in making the show.
KELLY: From the moment Baz conceived of the show, we were dedicated to very much involving the community, we would love to cast children, young people from the Bronx to play these roles, we’d be very excited about that.
This pledge, however, was met with skepticism. Joe Conzo is a Bronx-based photographer. He documented the Bronx and its people during the 70s and 80s. In an interview he expressed concern of how his borough will be portrayed.
CONZO: I’m tired of seeing that same old Hollywood hype of like Fort Apache the Bronx, like the Bronx was just a killing zone, a drug zone, of desperate blacks and puerto ricans killing each other and this that and the other. It was far more than that, far more than that.
The producers are trying to allay these fears Aaron Thomas is a writer and co-executive producer on ‘The Get Down’. He said that authenticity is a major priority for the shows director Baz Luhrmann.
THOMAS: He’s gone to the greatest lengths in this project for sure, to make sure that everyone involved in this project is actually rooted in the material, meaning from the Bronx, not only the Bronx, but the 70s Bronx.
And Luhrmann, who spoke this morning, offered further assurance to those who are cynical. He said that the show will offer both an genuine portrayal of the Bronx’s troubled past and a hopeful vision of its future.
LUHRMANN: Yes, of course we’re not gonna have a sanitized version of the Bronx, that can’t happen in the beginning, but we’re gonna show the transformation of those characters and I think also of the borough itself, because we’re gonna cut to the future and to the past.
The show is scheduled to arrive on Netflix in August 2016.
Alistair Gardiner, Columbia Radio News