Ava DuVernay's 'Central Park Five' Lands All-Star Cast

Courtesy of Netflix/Getty Images/Courtesy of Timothy Greenfield-Sanders

Ava DuVernay's Central Park Five has landed an all-star cast.

Michael K. Williams, Vera Farmiga and John Leguizamo are joining the four-episode limited series, Netflix announced Monday. Created by DuVernay, who directed A Wrinkle in Time and the Oscar-nominated 13th, will write and direct.

Based on a true story, Central Park Five will chronicle the notorious case of five teenagers of color who were convicted of a rape they did not commit. The episodes will focus on the five teenagers from Harlem -- Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana and Korey Wise. The series will begin from the spring of 1989, when each were first questioned about the incident, to 2014 when they were exonerated and a settlement was reached with the city of New York.

Williams (The Night Of, The Wire) will play Bobby McCray, devoted father of accused teen Antron McCray. Farmiga will portray Elizabeth Lederer, the Manhattan Assistant District Attorney and lead prosecutor on the case. Leguizamo will play Raymond Santana Sr., the father of accused teen Raymond Santana Jr. 

DuVernay confirmed the castings on her Instagram, posting a Frederick Douglass quote shortly after the news was made official: “Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.”

Williams also expressed his excitement over his involvement in the project, writing on Instagram, "This story is everything that is wrong with our criminal justice system #juvenilecriminaljusticereformNOW!#centralpark5 #innocent."

Leguizamo was equally enthusiastic, praising DuVernay in his Instagram post: "This powerful story needs to be told!!! So proud to b a part of it! #avaDuvernay is a monster can’t wait to throw down with her!"

Central Park Five premieres on Netflix in 2019.


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