New details about filmmaker Ava DuVernay’s next project have surfaced. After breaking out in a huge way with the phenomenal Martin Luther King Jr. drama Selma, DuVernay was courted for a number of projects but settled on making a kids movie at Disney with A Wrinkle in Time. The fruits of that labor are out in theaters now, and DuVernay has turned her attention to her next project—which brings her very much back into the adult drama fold.
It was announced last summer that DuVernay would write and direct a five-episode limited series for Netflix called Central Park Five, about the titular group of young men—four black and one Hispanic—who were wrongfully convicted of brutally raping a jogger in 1989. Their confessions were coerced, as was later confirmed, but they spent 6 to 13 years in prison.
Speaking on Kristopher Tapley’s Variety podcast Playback, DuVernay revealed that the Netflix project—which she describes as a five-hour film—will start shooting this summer, and she’ll be reuniting with her Selma and Middle of Nowhere cinematographer Bradford Young:
“I had a writers room going while I was in post on Wrinkle. I’m rewriting some stuff, writing three of the five episodes, and we’re casting. Our breakdown just went out for the five boys which is really hard to find, those five young boys. They were 13 and 14 when they were convicted of a crime they didn’t commit and sent off to all of these horrible places. So I’ll be doing that next. Five hours for Netflix, and we start that in the summer. Bradford Young’s shooting it… We’re just gonna get back into it and tell these stories of these families, it’s really the families. But it’s a beautiful story.”
The reunion with Young is tremendous news, as he’s one of the most exciting cinematographers working today. He was busy working on Solo: A Star Wars Story when DuVernay made A Wrinkle in Time, and he was nominated for an Oscar for his work on Arrival, so it’s exciting to hear he’ll be back in the fold for this timely project.
DuVernay also revealed that each hour of the Netflix limited series will focus on one of the five men convicted:
“Each boy is the center for an hour, so they each get their own hour as the film is progressing. So the case is progressing but each hour another boy’s more prominent until you get to the fifth boy at the end.”
Central Park Five has renewed relevance now, given that our current president took out a full-page ad calling for the boys’ execution and even though they were later exonerated, refused to acknowledge their innocence. Seeing DuVernay’s ambition on display with A Wrinkle in Time was a joy, and now I can’t wait to see what she puts together with something as timely as Central Park Five.
The limited series will debut on Netflix sometime in 2019. Listen to the full podcast conversation below.