When They See Us

WHAT IF ALL BOYS WERE CREATED EQUAL?

An entire nation was horrified by the Central Park Five case of 1989 – five young black and Hispanic men were sentenced to many years in prison for having attacked and raped a white woman in Central Park. But they were innocent. This miniseries shows how poorly police and prosecutors handled the case, the abuse the boys suffered in prison and how hard it was to get their lives on track again after being released. Race plays a huge part, with angry attacks on a system that allows bad cops to carry on. But the anger is balanced by a heartfelt, loving portrait of the five, grounded in the look, sounds and feel of their neighborhood.

2019-U.S. Made for TV. 296 min. Color. Directed by Ava DuVernay. Teleplay: Ava DuVernay, Julian Breece, Robin Swicord, Attica Locke, Michael Starrbury. Cinematography: Bradford Young. Cast: Jharrel Jerome (Korey Wise), Freddy Miyares (Raymond Santana), Jovan Adepo (Antron McCray), Justin Cunningham, Chris Chalk, Marsha Stephanie Blake… Vera Farmiga, Felicity Huffman, John Leguizamo, Michael K. Williams, Joshua Jackson, Famke Janssen, Blair Underwood, Len Cariou.

Trivia: Originally shown in four episodes. Co-executive produced by DuVernay, Oprah Winfrey and Robert De Niro. The case was also chronicled in the documentary The Central Park Five (2012). 

Last word: “I knew I had some actors [in my past movies] that were really affected and had no way to talk it out, so we were able to set up a hotline so that any time, 24 hours, when you needed to talk to someone, you could – privately and anonymously. I knew a lot of crew that used it. We forget about the crew. The actors are coming in and out on certain days, but the crew is there every single day seeing it all. They saw what happened to every single boy, takes done again and again.” (DuVernay, Variety)

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