Central Park Five: Michael K. Williams, Vera Farmiga, and John Leguizamo join Ava DuVernay’s Netflix series


Some major names have joined the cast of the Netflix limited-run series Central Park Five from Ava DuVernay.

The four-part drama, called Central Park Five, is scheduled to premiere on the streaming service in 2019, has cast Michael K. Williams, Vera Farmiga, and John Leguizamo, according to Deadline.

The series will depict the saga of the title group of characters, Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana, and Korey Wise, who were wrongly convicted of raping a jogger in a New York City park in 1989. The group was dragged through the mud by the media and each spent years in jail until their conviction was overturned in 2014. They sued the City as a result of what happened and settled for over $40 million after their release.

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Williams and Leguizamo will portray Bobby McCray and Raymond Santana Sr., respectively, fathers of two of the accused boys. And Farmiga will play Manhattan Assistant D.A. Elizabeth Lederer, the woman who was responsible for the case’s prosecution.

All three actors are veterans of TV. Williams is known for playing Omar LIttle on HBO’s The Wire and earned an Emmy nomination for his work on The Night Of. Leguizamo has appeared in the Netflix series Bloodline and won an Emmy for his performance in his stand-up show, John Leguizamo: Freak. Farmiga was nominated for an Oscar for her supporting role in Up in the Air and an Emmy for Bates Motel.

DuVernay, the director of A Wrinkle in Time and 13th, is the creator, executive producer, and co-writer of the series. She will direct each of its four episodes. Other writers include Robin Swicord, Attica Locke, and Michael Starrbury.

In addition, Participant Media’s Jeff Skoll and Jonathan King, Oprah Winfrey/Harpo Films, and Tribeca Productions’ Jane Rosenthal and Berry Welsh will share executive producing duties.

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Central Park Five will likely be of great interest given its links to many hot-button issues of the present day, DuVernay at the helm, and what is shaping up to be a top-tier cast. In addition, the current President, Donald Trump, was one of the individuals who publicly bad-mouthed the Central Park Five in the 1980s, lending an extra layer of intrigue to the series in our politically fraught times.

Are you excited to see Central Park Five when it hits Netflix next year? Share your thoughts in the comments.