Last year, Ava DuVernay announced she was working on a Netflix series about the Central Park Five, the five Harlem teenagers who were accused and unfairly convicted of raping a white woman in 1989 and then had their convictions thrown out 13 years later. The initial cast for the four-part project has been confirmed, as of Monday.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Michael K. Williams, Vera Farmiga, and John Leguizamo have been cast in the series—Williams will play Bobby McCray, the father of convicted Antron McCray; Farmiga will play Elizabeth Lederer, the Manhattan Assistant DA and lead prosecutor for the case; and Leguizamo will play Raymond Santana Sr., the father of accused teen Raymond Santana Jr. In April, DuVernay also posted an open casting call for actors to play the teenagers who were arrested: Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana, and Korey Wise.
The timeline of the series will reportedly span from that night in 1989 to 2014, when the five men were finally exonerated and received a settlement for wrongful imprisonment. The Central Park Five case feels particularly relevant, given President Trump’s dangerous opinions about the case, which have continued for decades. It was Trump who first took out full-page ads in four New York newspapers against the five boys in 1989, writing, “I want to hate these muggers and murderers. They should be forced to suffer and, when they kill, they should be executed for their crimes.” He also rejected the idea that DNA exonerated the men from the alleged crime, and in 2016, he was still insisting the men were guilty.