Meet the cast of Ava DuVernay’s ‘Central Park Five’

"Central Park Five" director Ava DuVernay has begun casting for the Netflix series. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Brad Barket

By Meghan Giannotta @MeghGia

The notorious case of five teens from Harlem wrongly convicted of rape will be brought to life in the limited Netflix series “Central Park Five.”

The Ava DuVernay-created series is currently in preproduction in New York City and has begun releasing casting information. It’s due out in 2019.

“The story of the men known as Central Park Five has riveted me for more than two decades,” director DuVernay, of “A Wrinkle in Time” and “13th,” says in a statement.


The series will focus on the five teens — Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana and Korey Wise — who were convicted in the 1989 Central Park attack of jogger Trisha Meili, giving those once deemed guilty a chance to share their stories.

“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,” she continues.

John Leguizamo will play the father of Raymond Santana Jr.

“Central Park Five” will approach the case from a variety of angles and time periods, including the 1989 questioning, their time behind bars, President Donald Trump’s 1989 newspaper ad calling for their execution, and the 2014 settlement that eventually cleared their names.

DuVernay has begun piecing together the series’ main and supporting cast.

Here’s who’s been tapped so far.

Portraying the five

Yusef Salaam


Chris Chalk, who has a hefty resume that includes film (“12 Years a Slave”) and TV (“The Newsroom,” “Gotham”) has signed on to portray the elder version, Deadline reported on Friday. Cast as the younger Yusef, Ethan Herisse has appeared in episodes of “Key and Peele” and the “About a Boy” series.

Kevin Richardson

Newcomers Justin Cunningham and Asante Blackk are the elder and younger Richardson, respectively.

Anton McCray

Jovan Adepo (“The Leftovers”) portrays the older counterpart to Caleel Harris’ young McCray. Harris is most recently known for his turn as the child Henry Deaver in “Castle Rock.”

Raymond Santana, Jr.

Relative newcomer Freddy Miyares plays adult Santana, Jr., while Marquis Rodriguez, who has been acting for more than a decade (“Luke Cage,” “Chicago Fire”) is his younger counterpart.


Korey Wise

Jharrel Jerome (“Moonlight”) does double duty as both the young and older defendant.

Family members

Bobby McCray

Flatbush-born actor Michael K. Williams, who’s appeared in series including “Boardwalk Empire” and, most recently, “Hap and Leonard,” is cast as Anton McCray’s dad.

Raymond Santana Sr.

John Leguizamo (“Bloodline”) has also signed on to play the father of one of the teens.

Delores Wise

Korey Wise’s mother is Niecy Nash (“Claws,” “Scream Queens”).

Courtroom players

Elizabeth Lederer

Vera Farminga, of “Bates Motel” fame, will portray the Manhattan assistant district attorney.

Linda Fairstein

Felicity Huffman (“American Crime,” “Desperate Housewives”) is Fairstein, who was leading the sex crimes unit at the Manhattan District Attorney’s office at the time of the case.

Joshua Jackson

“The Affair” and former “Dawson’s Creek” actor Joshua Jackson will portray McCray’s lawyer.

William Sadler

Known best in the role of Colonel Stuart in “Sie Hard 2,” Sadler’s career spans decades. His most recent TV appearances include “Power” and “Our Cartoon President.” He’s been tapped to portray one of the NYPD detectives looking into the case of the Central Park Five.

Christopher Jackson

Jackson, of the Off-Broadway musical “Time and the Wind,” will appear as Santana’s lawyer, Peter Rivera.