The stars of “The Get Down,” Baz Luhrmann’s new series about the rise of hip-hop in the 1970s that follows a group of teens in the South Bronx, said they went through rigorous boot camp learning graffiti, breakdancing and rap to train for the roles.
Co-star Justice Smith, who plays Ezekiel "Books" Figuero, added that “Baz’s team was awesome, as far as a bunch of resources in terms of books and movies and stuff. But then we all had a boot camp with Kurtis Blow and Grandmaster Flash and Lady Pink, where they taught us graffiti and breakdancing, rap and stuff … do the hustle, the bus stop.”
Jaden Smith, 18, said he was “totally in” on the project as soon as he heard about it.
“I saw that this was going to be educational for people that were watching, especially youth that doesn’t always know exactly where hip-hop came from,” he explained. “And that the mecca of hip-hop was really in the Bronx in the 1970s.
“The death of disco, hip-hop rising, landlords, buildings burning down,” Smith, who plays a talented graffiti artist named Marcus "Dizzee" Kipling, added. “I feel like it’s really interesting for us to look back into history and see what the state of the world was in that time, or the Bronx, which is the world to our characters.”
“I’m trying to take the front of it so that kids later on in history wear whatever they want to wear, whatever it is,” he said. “If you want to wear a clown suit to school, it’s fine. Whatever it is. That’s why I wore like a Batman suit, too. I want kids to be able to do whatever they want without getting bullied. Bully me if you have to, take the attention off of the kids that are young and just trying to figure out what their fashion sense is going to be.”
Part One of "The Get Down" premieres Friday, Aug. 12, on Netflix.