Michael K. Williams, Vera Farmiga to lead 'Central Park Five' ensemble

By Karen Butler  |  July 9, 2018 at 9:21 PM
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July 9 (UPI) -- Michael K. Williams, Vera Farmiga and John Leguizamo are to lead the cast of Netflix's fact-based, limited series, Central Park Five.

Selma filmmaker Ava DuVernay is writing and will direct the four-part program, which is expected to premiere next year.

"Based on a true story that gripped the country, Central Park Five will chronicle the notorious case of five teenagers of color who were convicted of a rape they did not commit," the streaming service said in a news release. "The episodes will focus on the five teenagers from Harlem -- Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana and Korey Wise. The series will span 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."

DuVernay tweeted a link to a story about the casting news Monday, along with a quote from 19th-century abolitionist and author Frederick Douglass.

"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," the quote read.

DuVernay's involvement with the Central Park Five project was announced last summer.

At the time, DuVernay said: "I had an extraordinary experience working with Netflix on 13th and am overjoyed to continue this exploration of the criminal justice system as a narrative project with Cindy Holland and the team there. The story of the men known as Central Park Five has riveted me for more than two decades. In their journey, we witness five innocent young men of color who were met with injustice at every turn -- from coerced confessions to unjust incarceration to public calls for their execution by the man who would go on to be the President of the United States."

Williams is known for his work in The Wire and Boardwalk Empire. Farmiga was recently seen in Bates Motel and Luguizamo co-starred in Waco.

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