“Selma” director Ava
DuVernay will write and direct a five-episode limited series about the historic Central Park Five case for Netflix, the company announced Thursday.
DuVernay previously worked with Netflix on her critically acclaimed and Oscar-nominated 2016 documentary, “13th.”
While this new project will be a scripted series, it will return to many of the same themes as “13th,” which examined race and the US criminal justice system.
In 1989, five teenagers from Harlem — Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana and Korey Wise — were wrongfully convicted of raping Trisha Meili in New York City’s Central Park. In 2014, all five were exonerated and reached a settlement.
Each episode of DuVernay’s new series will focus on one of the five teenagers, and the story will span from 1989 to 2014. Netflix says that the series “exposes the breakdown of our criminal justice system at every phase of the notorious Central Park Five case.”
“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,” DuVernay said in a statement. “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 colour 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.”
The series will be produced Jeff Skoll and Jonathan King from Participant Media, Oprah Winfrey/Harpo Films, Jane Rosenthal and Berry Welsh from Tribeca Productions and DuVernay, and is due to come out on the streaming service in 2019.