Ava Duvernay’s production of “Central Park Five” rounds out its cast, announcing the five young men of color to depict the highly publicized case. If you haven’t heard that the acclaimed writer, producer, director is… writing, producing, and directing a limited series on Netflix that depicts the story of the “Central Park Five.” The true story of five teenagers of color who were wrongly convicted of sexually assaulting a white woman jogging through Central Park in 1989. The case took national attention and the accused were named the “Central Park Five.” The young men were convicted and eventually exonerated in 2002.
Duvernay may be the fairy godmother of us all, pulling out the stops to find the perfect cast members to tell this tale. She continues to open doors for POC actors casting a few unknowns who will be making their debuts on the small screen and bringing on some familiar faces as well.
Chris Chalk (Gotham) will play Adult Yusef Salaam; Newcomers Freddy Miyares and Justin Cunningham will play Adult Raymond Santana and Adult Kevin Richardson. Together, they will star alongside previously announced Jharrel Jerome (Moonlight) playing Korey Wise and Jovan Adepo (Fences) playing Adult Antron McCray – all portraying the wrongly convicted men in the Central Park Five case.
Duvernay also brings in new talent, Asante Blackk who will play Young Kevin Richardson alongside, Ethan Herisse (Miss Virginia) will play Young Yusef Salaam; Marquis Rodriguez (Chicago Fire) will play Young Raymond Santana, Jr.; Caleel Harris (Goosebumps 2) playing Young Antron McCray. Actors are mentioned as portraying the young versions of the accused seeing as the show will span the initial accusation in 1989 past their exoneration in 2002, to their final settlement in 2014.
I was hoping we’d get Ashton Sanders (Moonlight) in there somewhere, but there is no lack of talent in this cast. With the skilled Jharrel Jerome and Jovan Adepo on the team as well, we are sure to see some great performances.
This is truly in Duvernay’s wheelhouse, and as an actor, it’s exciting to see casting that doesn’t make you feel like they brought on that one super famous person (even if they don’t fit the part) just to drive viewers. I am genuinely looking forward to seeing how this limited series fairs. “Central Park Five” began filming in New York City this month and will air on Netflix with four full episodes in 2019.
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