Michael K. Williams To Star In Ava DuVernay’s ‘Central Park Five’
Michael K. Williams has joined the cast of “Central Park Five.” Ava DuVernay’s five part limited series with Williams, Vera Farmiga and John Leguizamo will premiere on Netflix next year. The scripted series will follow the lives of Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana and Korey Wise, from their 1989 conviction of the brutal beating and rape of jogger Trisha Melli to their 2014 exoneration and release.
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.
In 2014, the men, known as the “Central Park Five” sued the City of New York and settled for just over $41 million. The City of New York admitted no wrong doing in their case, maintaining that the detectives and prosecutors did nothing wrong at the time.
Interestingly, Donald Trump was outspoken during the time, taking out full page ads in popular newspapers calling for their conviction and insisting that New York reinstates the death penalty.
Emmy nominee Williams, 51, will portray McCray’s father, Bobby. He played Omar Little on the HBO drama series The Wire and Albert “Chalky” White on the series Boardwalk Empire. He was also acclaimed for his role as Jack Gee, husband of Bessie Smith, in the HBO telefilm biopic “Bessie.” For three seasons he starred as gay Vietnam veteran on the Sundance dark comedy series Hap and Leonard. His film credits include “Inherent Vice”, “The Purge: Anarchy,” “Gone Baby Gone” “12 Years a Slave,” “Ghostbusters” and “Superfly.”
Williams received two Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie nominations for his roles in Bessie (2015) and The Night Of (2016).
Leguizamo, will star as the father of Raymond Santana and Farminga will play Elizabeth Lederer, the Manhattan Assistant District Attorney of led the prosecution and still works in the office.
DuVernay is executive producing with Oprah Winfrey/Harpo Films and others.
Filming is set to begin in New York this August.