When They See Us creator explains reason for Korey Wise episode

Sam Warner
Photo credit: Atsushi Nishijima/Netflix

From Digital Spy

When They See Us' creator Ava DuVernay has opened up about concentrating on the story of Korey Wise for a feature-length episode.

The acclaimed Netflix miniseries follows the story of the so-called Central Park Five, who were wrongly convicted for the rape of a jogger in Central Park in the late 1980s.

The series' penultimate episode follows four of the wrongly-convicted group – Antron McCray, Yusuf Salaam, Kevin Richardson and Raymond Santana – as they struggle with life in prison and adjusting to life afterwards.

Photo credit: Getty Images

Related: Korey Wise: What really happened in the Central Park Five case and where is he now?

However, the final episode of the series focuses most of its time on Wise and his struggles in prison and solitary confinement.

Interestingly, out of the five, Wise is the only one to be played both as a teen and an adult by the same actor – Jharrel Jerome – with DuVernay now speaking out about the reason why.

"Because he has the physicality to do both," she told Vulture. "A lot of the boys that we cast, they would not be able to pass as men. The men that we cast, none of them could play boys 'cause they look like full-grown men.

Photo credit: Netflix

"It was only Jharrel who was able to do both. When we shot him, he was 20, so he looked very close to a teenager, but with the full-grown beard he can literally pass for 30."

Speaking further about her reasons for focusing a lot on Wise, DuVernay explained: "It really came from Korey Wise. When I first sat down with him, he said, 'I'm happy that you're telling my story, but you should know we're not the Central Park Five. We're four plus one.'

Photo credit: Atsushi Nishijima/Netflix

"He was adamant and assertive about that, that they did not all experience the same thing. From the minute he told me that, I knew I needed to find a way to honour that in the story.

"Before I even opened a writers' room or hired any writers, I knew he would have a stand-alone episode and that would be the finale."

When They See Us is streaming now on Netflix.

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