Kristen Bell will no longer voice Molly Tillerman’s central mixed-race character in Apple’s upcoming animated series “Central Park.”
The decision to reissue the role was announced through a lengthy statement from the show’s creative team, which said that “Molly’s character cast is an opportunity to get the right portrayal: choosing a black or mixed-race actress. and give Molly a voice that resonates with all the nuances and experiences of the character as we have drawn her. “
Bell also released his own statement, saying that expressing the character “shows a lack of awareness of my widespread privilege.”
“Launching a mixed-race character with a white actress undermines the specificity of the mixed-race and African-American experience,” said Bell’s statement.
Creator Loren Bouchard previously addressed the cast during a panel in January, at which point there was clearly no intention of re-playing the role.
Kristen needed to be Molly; We couldn’t not do it Molly. But then we couldn’t make Molly go white and we couldn’t make Kristen mixed race, so we had to move on, “Bouchard said at the time.
The news of the new casting comes just hours after Jenny Slate announced that she was walking away from voicing a biracial character on Netflix’s “Big Mouth.”
Read the full statement by Bouchard, Josh Gad, Nora Smith, Halsted Sullivan, and Sanjay Shah below:
“Kristen Bell is an extraordinarily talented actress who joined the cast of Central Park from almost the first day of the show’s development, even before there was a character for her, and has since presented a fun, heartfelt, and beautiful performance.
But upon reflection, Kristen, along with the entire creative team, acknowledges that Molly’s character cast is an opportunity to get a proper portrayal: choosing a black or mixed-race actress and giving Molly a voice that resonates with everyone. the nuances. and experiences of the character as we have drawn it. Kristen will continue to be part of the heart of the show in a new role, but we’ll find a new actress to lend her voice to Molly.
We deeply regret having contributed to the feeling of exclusion or deletion of any person.
Black people and people of color have worked and will continue to work in Central Park, but we can do better. We are committed to creating opportunities for people of color and blacks in all roles, in all of our projects – behind the microphone, in the writers’ room, in production, and in post-production. The animation will be stronger by having as many voices, experiences and perspectives as we can bring to the industry. Our store and program will be better at respecting the nuances and complexity around the theme of representation and trying to get it right. “
“Central Park” currently has five episodes in its first season. Her voice cast also includes Josh Gad, Leslie Odom Jr., Kathryn Hahn, Tituss Burgess, Daveed Diggs, and Stanley Tucci.