The director was shown film footage of Tremaine Brown, Jr. - known as T. J. Brown - performing at a station in The Bronx and knew immediately that he wanted him for his upcoming musical drama The Get Down.

"We found him on the subway," Luhrmann tells New York Post gossip column Page Six. "He was performing in The Bronx, and now he's a lead on the show. They showed me a video, and I was like, 'I've got to see him.'"

Despite his lack of onscreen experience, Brown kept his nerves in check at his audition until Luhrmann's deadpan reaction convinced him he had failed to impress the moviemaker.

"I knew who he was from The Great Gatsby," Brown says. "He shows no emotion, even when you do a good job. I got nervous thinking I did bad because he didn't show any emotion."

The show is due to air on streaming website Netflix next year (16) and Luhrmann admits he feels the pressure to deliver as he owes it to his hard-working cast and crew: "I get worried for everybody I've (got) into things and for the people I lead down a creative road."