Celebrated filmmaker Ava DuVernay has signed on to write and direct a new miniseries with Netflix, reports The Hollywood Reporter. The five-part miniseries will follow the story of the Central Park Five, a label referring to an infamous New York case concerning five men of color who were wrongly convicted of assault and rape of a white woman in Central Park back in 1989.
The miniseries will mark DuVernay’s second collaboration with Netflix, with the first project being the Oscar-nominated documentary film 13th, which explores the relationship between the American criminal justice system and the country’s incarceration of black men.
In an official statement, DuVernay spoke with enthusiasm about the upcoming miniseries. “I had an extraordinary experience working with Netflix on 13th and am overjoyed to continue this exploration of the criminal justice system”, the statement read. “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.”
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) July 6, 2017
As DuVernay touches upon in her statement and the above tweet, the story of the Central Park Five has direct links to the President of the United States. When the story first broke in 1989, Donald Trump took out full-page ads in several newspapers across New York City encouraging a reinstatement of the death penalty. Though the men were found innocent and freed in 2002 due to new DNA evidence as well as an outright confession of the man who actually committed the crime, Trump maintained in a statement for CNN last fall that the original Central Park Five were guilty.
The limited series will not only tell the events behind the story of the Central Park Five, but will also delve into the intricacies of the criminal justice system as well as focusing in on each of the five men involved in the case, covering from 1989 all the way to 2014.
DuVernay currently has the second season of her show Queen Sugar running on the OWN network and recently wrapped filming her next big film A Wrinkle in Time, which will hit theaters in April. DuVernay’s Central Park Five miniseries is expected to premiere on Netflix in 2019.