Almost a year to the day after Ava DuVernay announced her next project would be a Netflix limited series based on the Central Park Five, the first casting announcements have been made. Michael K. Williams, Vera Farmiga, and John Leguizamo have all joined DuVernay on the production, which she’s writing and directing.
Entitled Central Park Five, the four-part series tells the tale of perhaps the most infamous wrongful conviction cases in US history. The story follows the five Harlem teens — Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana Jr. and Korey Wise — who were convicted of a brutal rape they did not commit, all based on false, coerced confessions. DuVernay will chronicle the Five from their first police interviews in 1989 through the exoneration in 2002 and finally their successful $41 million lawsuit against the city of New York.
Williams is set to play Bobby McCray, the father of one of the Five, while Leguizamo has been cast as another parent of one of the accused teens, Raymond Santana Sr. Farmiga will portray the lead prosecutor on the case, Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Lederer.
Executive produced by Oprah Winfery’s Harpo Films, Tribeca Productions’ Jane Rosenthal and Berry Welsh, Participant Media’s Jeff Skoll and Jonathan King, and DuVernay herself, the series is set to debut in 2019. DuVernay is also working to get a Rihanna/Lupita Nyong’o buddy comedy movie written by Issa Rae going for Netflix, and has also been tapped to direct the comic book movie New Gods for DC Films/Warner Bros.