Ava DuVernay to Write and Direct Limited Series about the Central Park Five

     July 6, 2017


We still have to wait until 2018 to see Ava DuVernay’s next film, A Wrinkle in Time, but the filmmaker is showing no signs of slowing down. Coming off an Oscar-nomination for her astounding documentary 13th, DuVernay is reteaming with Netflix for a five-episode limited series about the Central Park Five.

For those unfamiliar with the case, in 1989, a jogger was raped in Manhattan’s Central Park. Five juvenile men—four black and one Hispanic—were charged with the crime. It was later discovered that their confessions were coerced and they spent 6 to 13 years in prison for a crime they didn’t commit. In 2003, they sued New York City and in 2014 they settled for $41 million. When the crime was wildly publicized, Donald Trump took out a full-page ad calling for their execution. Even though the men were later exonerated, Trump refused to acknowledge their innocence.


Image via Paramount

In a press release, DuVernay talked about re-teaming with Netflix to take on this story:

“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,” said DuVernay. “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.”

I can’t wait to see DuVernay take on this story and how she’ll bring the same level of insight she’s brought to her past work. The untitled limited series will arrive on Netflix in 2019.

Here’s the official synopsis:

Based on the true story that gripped New York and the world, the series will be a five-episode limited, scripted series that exposes the breakdown of our criminal justice system at every phase of the notorious Central Park Five case. Each part will focus on one of the five teenagers from Harlem — Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana and Korey Wise — wrongly convicted of raping Trisha Meili in Central Park. 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.