Surprise, Surprise: Baz Luhrmann’s Netflix Show Went Way Over Schedule, Budget

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Baz Luhrmann’s Netflix series The Get Down will hit the streaming service next month after an arduous four-year process that included the departure of two show-runners, multiple shut-downs and restarts, and budget overruns that made the program the costliest in Netflix’s history, according to a fascinating report published today on Variety.

According to Cynthia Littleton’s reporting, the process of bringing the drama about the birth of hip-hop to screens was a complicated series of negotiations and compromises between creator Luhrmann and the powers-that-be at Netflix and Sony Pictures Television. The Moulin Rouge director initially hoped to be “an uncle to the project,” but found himself remaining hands-on throughout the process, as his vision clashed with potential show-runners Shawn Ryan (The Shield) and Thomas Kelly (Copper). Execs at Sony, the show’s co-producer, hoped to keep a more experienced television hand at the helm; Netflix preferred keeping their star director at the center. So Luhrmann became the de facto showrunner, along with wife and collaborator, Catherine Martin (who’s done the production and costume design for the likes of Moulin Rouge and The Great Gatsby). Littleton notes that, per multiple sources, the team “were exacting in what they liked and what they didn’t.”

The final price tag for the protracted production was reportedly $120 million (after tax incentives) – less than Australia’s $130 million but more than Great Gatsby’s $105 million on the Luhrman out-of-control-production meter. So you can’t exactly say they didn’t know what they were getting into.

Read Variety’s full story here.