During our recent webcam chat (watch above), composer Elliott Wheeler admits that his work on “The Get Down” was, “slightly overwhelming.” Created by Oscar-nominated director Baz Luhrmann (“Moulin Rouge”) and Stephen Adly Guirgis, this Netflix original series follows the rise of disco and hip hop through the eyes of a group of teenagers growing up in The Bronx in the 1970s, featuring a large ensemble cast that includes Justice Smith, Shameik Moore, Herizen F. Guardiola, Jimmy Smits, and Giancarlo Esposito. “You realize just how much music there is, particularly from that era,” adds Wheeler. “There is a sense of this being such a massive horizon.”
Yet Wheeler was undeterred, thanks in large part to Luhrmann’s ability to weave music into his storytelling. “One of the mantras that we had for the show was that if we took the musical numbers out of the storyline, the entire plot should sort of collapse. Once we started having some of that structure, working very, very closely with the writers and the choreographers …the storylines and the musical decisions start to become very self-evident.”
Wheeler previously collaborated with Luhrmann on “The Great Gatsby” (2013), where he served as the arranger and additional music producer. After a brief hiatus, “The Get Down” returned to Netflix with the second half of its first season on Apr. 7th. Check out our full interview above for more on Wheeler’s work.
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