Last year, we reported that Ava DuVernay was developing a Netflix miniseries about the “Central Park Five,” a group of five teenagers who were wrongfully accused—and even more wrongfully convicted—of raping a woman in New York’s Central Park in the late-’80s. As it turned out, people were more eager to be racist than to trust the claims that an overzealous police force had coerced confessions out of them, and the group wasn’t fully exonerated until 2014. Now, the cast of DuVernay’s series is starting to come together, with Deadline reporting that Michael K. Williams, Vera Farmiga, and John Leguizamo have all signed on to the project.
Williams and Leguizamo will play the fathers of two of the falsely accused boys, specifically Antron McCray and Raymond Santana Jr., while Farmiga will play Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Lederer (who, as Deadline notes, still works there today despite the prominent role she played in the prosecution). That still leaves a number of important people who have yet to be cast, including the Central Park Five themselves, but it’ll be most interesting to see who will end up playing the man who is essentially the villain of the story: Donald Trump.
Trump famously took out full-page ads in several newspapers at the time demanding that the death penalty be reinstated in New York specifically for the falsely accused teens, and even after they were released from prison and cleared of all charges, Trump still maintained that they should’ve been executed for a crime that that they absolutely—beyond any shadow of a doubt—did not commit. Trump’s insatiable desire to see these five innocent boys killed in the ‘80s was credited with turning the general public against the Central Park Five, so he seems like the obvious choice to act as a stand-in for the very concept of racism.