By Dominic Patten
July 9, 2018
EXCLUSIVE: As the hours tick away until the 2018 Primetime Emmy nominations are announced later this week, the 2019- launching Central Park Five from Ava DuVernay cast some likely major contenders for next year in the Netflix limited series today.
Michael K. Williams, Vera Farmiga and John Leguizamo have all joined the four-part drama from the A Wrinkle In Time and 13th director.
The limited series sprawls from 1989 when five Harlem teens were incorrectly convicted first in the media and then twice in the courts for the brutal rape of a jogger in the NYC park in 2014 when Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana and Korey Wise saw their names finally cleared. Having been vilified by the likes of Donald Trump back in the late 80s and forced to spend years in jail each, the five sued New York City and settled for just over $40 million about four years ago. Before you take another breath, take into account that sum that works out to around $1 million for every year they collectively spent tossed behind bars for a terrible crime they never committed.
Past Emmy nominee, The Wire and Hap and Leonard alum Williams is set to portray Bobby McCray, the father of Antron. Oscar nominee and Bates Motel vet Farmiga will be playing Manhattan Assistant D.A. Elizabeth Lederer, who led the prosecution in the cases and still works in the office. Emmy winner, recent Special Tony Award winner and Bloodline star Leguizamo has signed on as Raymond Santana Sr., father of another one of the falsely accused boys of color.
Currently in pre-production in NYC and with principal photography starting in early August, Central Park Five also reunited its createor DuVernay for the fifth time with Selma cinematographer Bradford Young, who recently shot Solo: A Star Wars Story. Working with writers Robin Swicord, Attica Locke and Michael Starrbury, DuVernay copenned each episode of the series. The Queen Sugar EP and ARRAY founder is directing every episode of the timely drama.
DuVernay is executive producing Central Park Five with Jeff Skoll and Jonathan King from Participant Media, Oprah Winfrey/Harpo Films, and Jane Rosenthal and Berry Welsh from Tribeca Productions.
MKW is repped by WM, Silver Lining Entertainment and attorneys at Jackoway Austen Tyerman Wertheimer Mandelbaum Morris Bernstein Tranttner & Klein. Farmiga is represented by CAA, Authentic Talent and Literary management and Peikoff Mahan Law Office. Leguizamo is repped by UTA and lawyers at Sloane, Offer, Weber & Dern. Berger is repped by the Kohner Agency, Kaplan Perrone, and attorney Rob Szymanski.