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Michael Kenneth Williams, John Leguizamo to star in Netflix'  'Central Park Five' limited series

Michael Kenneth Williams at the 2016 Television Critics

Michael Kenneth Williams at the 2016 Television Critics Association summer press tour in Beverly Hills on July 30, 2016. Credit: AP / Invision / Chris Pizzello

Ava DuVernay's limited series on the Central Park Five  -- the five teens wrongfully accused of raping a female jogger in 1989 -- has begun casting   and, so far, the names indicate that this Netflix  four-parter will be an ambitious one: Michael Kenneth Williams ("The Wire"), Vera Farmiga ("Bates Motel") and John Leguizamo ("Bloodline").

Based on the wrongful 1989 rape conviction of the quintet -- Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana and Korey Wise -- the series, called "Central Park Five," will cover the years of their incarceration until  2002, when they were exonerated after another man confessed to the crime. The series will conclude in 2014, with the City of New York reached a $41 million settlement reached with the men for their wrongful imprisonment. 

DuVernay (2014's "Selma'), who began development last summer, said in a statement at the time: "The story of the men known as  [the] 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.” In 1989, Donald Trump bought full-page ads in several city newspapers that called for bringing back the death penalty.

According to  Deadline, which first reported the cast details Monday, Williams will play Bobby McCray, father of Antron; Farmiga will play Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Lederer who prosecuted the teens; Leguizamo will play Raymond Santana Jr., father of Raymond. 

DuVernay's series, which will stream next year, follows Ken Burns' 2012 documentary, "The Central Park Five," which was a Peabody and New York Film Critics Circle award-winner. 


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