The first trailer for When They See Us has arrived. This comes from Oscar Nominee Ava DuVernay (Selma), who is amongst the most respected filmmakers working today. Netflix has been investing heavily in premium content over the last handful of years, luring in A-list talent and pouring money into projects that may otherwise have a hard time finding a home. In this case, they've given DuVerynay every resource to tell the tale of the Central Park Five from a perspective it's never been told before.
The trailer for this Netflix original event series kicks off, setting up the crime at the center of this tale and putting the key players in place. It serves as a gut-punch right out of the gate when it becomes clear that this isn't a cut and dry case of bad kids doing bad things. It's about a real-life injustice told through the eyes of a filmmaker that has an eye for exactly this type of story. The whole point is really hammered away with the tagline revealed in the trailer.
"The story you know is the lie they told you."
When They See Us is based on a true story and chronicles the notorious case of five teenagers of color, known as the Central Park Five, who were convicted of a brutal rape and assault, which they did not commit. The story focuses on the five teenagers from Harlem, Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana and Korey Wise. It kicks off in the spring of 1989, when the teenagers were first questioned about the incident, and spans 25 years, highlighting their exoneration in 2002 and the settlement reached with the city of New York in 2014.
The four-part limited series was created by Ava DuVernay. This serves as her follow-up to A Wrinkle in Time. DuVernay co-wrote and directed all four parts. To coincide with the release, Participant Media, in collaboration with Color Of Change, Vera Institute of Justice, Institute for Innovation in Prosecution at John Jay College, and The Opportunity Agenda, are set to launch a social impact campaign aimed at supporting the work of the criminal justice reform movement. The campaign will focus on shifting perceptions of Black and Brown youth in the media aims to aid prosecutors in finding new methods that are geared toward racial equality.
The series features an absolutely stacked cast. The ensemble includes Michael K. Williams, Vera Farmiga, John Leguizamo, Felicity Huffman, Niecy Nash, Blair Underwood, Christopher Jackson, Joshua Jackson, Omar J. Dorsey, Adepero Oduye, Famke Janssen, Aurora Perrineau and William Sadler. Jharrel Jerome, Jovan Adepo, Aunjanue Ellis, Kylie Bunbury, Marsha Stephanie Blake, Storm Reid, Dascha Polanco, Chris Chalk, Freddy Miyares, Justin Cunningham, Ethan Herisse, Caleel Harris, Marquis Rodriguez and Asante Blackk also star.
The project was originally titled The Central Park Five, but Ava DuVernay wanted a title that captured "the humanity of the men." This year marks the 30th anniversary of the case, making it rather timely. When They See Us hits Netflix streaming serive on May 31. Be sure to check out the new trailer below.