Oprah Winfrey will executive-produce the project
Ava DuVernay is lending her directorial eye to dramatically reframe another issue of injustice in America.
Netflix announced Thursday the Oscar-nominated filmmaker will helm a five-episode limited series revolving around the lives of the Central Park Five, a group of Harlem teenagers — Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana, and Korey Wise — wrongly convicted for the rape of Trisha Meili in the New York City park.
Each episode of the based-on-reality program will focus on one of the boys at the center of the case, with DuVernay also covering the entirety of the legal case spanning from 1989 through the group’s exoneration in 2014.
The news comes just six months after DuVernay, director of such films as Middle of Nowhere and the Martin Luther King, Jr. biopic Selma, scored her first Academy Award nod for the Netflix documentary 13th, which examines the prison industrial complex as a contemporary extension of Civil War-era slavery.
“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 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.”
DuVernay is executive-producing the Central Park Five doc alongside Oprah Winfrey, Participant Media’s Jeff Skoll and Jonathan King, and Tribeca Productions’ Jane Rosenthal and Berry Welsh.
An exact premiere date, title, and casting details have yet to be announced, though a press release indicates the show will bow on the streaming platform in 2019.