Baz Luhrmann and Shawn Ryan to collaborate on a TV series about the dawn of hip-hop
Baz Luhrmann is getting himself involved in television projects like the HBO mini-series about Napoleon based on Stanley Kubrick's screenplay and now has another highly touted project he is developing with THE SHIELD's Shawn Ryan. While the new series doesn't have a home yet, Netflix, Amazon, and FX are all interested, according to Vulture.
The series will be a combination of what both Ryan (gritty crime series) and Luhrmann (musical extravaganzas) have become known for but with a subject neither of them seem to have been associated with: hip-hop. The plot is unknown, but Vulture has some details that shed some light:
It will apparently spend its first season in 1977, with disco peaking and the Sugar Hill Gang's "Rapper's Delight" still two years away. While it's not a musical — characters won't randomly break into song — it will have heavy musical elements and performances. (This is Baz Luhrmann, after all.) The series will tell the stories of five young New Yorkers, with a focus on two best friends: one a talented writer, the other a natural performer. A person who's heard the pitch described the series as a coming-of-age story at heart, as well as a look at how hip-hop was born. Episodes may flash forward to reveal the fates of the central two characters. The grim state of New York City at the time — high crime, the city's financial crisis — also sounds like it might be a character of sorts.
This could be an interesting subject that has not been really examined on television or film before and would be an interesting use for Baz Luhrmann's hyper-visual style. Shawn Ryan has a close association with FX, but this could be just the type of unique project that Netflix is beginning to become known for. I am a fan of Luhrmann's films, including AUSTRALIA, so I am optimistic about this new show. Here's hoping it comes to fruition.