Netflix is developing a limited series based on the true story of the Central Park Five jogger case, written and directed by Ava DuVernay. She will executive produce alongside Oprah Winfrey, Jeff Skoll, Jonathan King, Jane Rosenthal, and Berry Welsh.
The five-episode series is set in 1989 and follows the real life story of five teenagers who were wrongfully convicted of raping a woman in New York’s Central Park. The series exposes the breakdown of our criminal justice system, with each part focusing 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 limited series will span from the spring of 1989 to 2014, when the group was exonerated and received a settlement with the city of New York.
“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 and 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 case was previously followed in the 2012 documentary The Central Park Five, written by Ken Burns, Sarah Burns, and David McMahon. The project received subpoenas for outtakes from lawyers involved in a civil suit defending the five men convicted.
The project reunites DuVernay with the streaming giant, who distributes her documentary 13th. The documentary takes an in-depth look at the prison system in the United States and how it reveals the nation’s history of racial inequality. The film was nominated for an Oscar for Best Documentary Feature.
DuVernay is repped by CAA.
Emily J | Staff Writer