Kristen Bell will no longer play Molly, a mixed race character in the Apple TV + animated musical comedy series Central Park. Bell, who called Molly a “complicity act” that “shows a lack of awareness of my dominant privilege,” will remain on the 20th Century Fox TV-produced show, playing a new character.
Netflix’s animated comedy Big Mouth He made a similar change today, with Jenny Slate leaving the cast where she voices Missy, a biracial girl. The role will be recast with a black actor. Both decisions had been in process for a while.
Central Park, who has an order for two seasons on Apple TV +, comes from Bob’s Burgers creator / EP Loren Bouchard, who co-created it with Bob’s Burgers executive producer Nora Smith and Josh Gad.
‘Big Mouth’: Jenny Slate to be replaced by black actor as Voice of Missy in Netflix animated series
“Kristen Bell is an extraordinarily talented actress who joined the cast of Central Park since almost the first day of the show’s development, even before there was a character for her, and since then she has presented a fun, sincere and beautiful performance, “Bouchard, Smith, Gad and the rest of Central ParkThe creative team at Halsted Sullivan and Sanjay Shah said in a statement (you can read it in full below).
But after reflection, Kristen, along with the entire creative team, recognizes that Molly’s character cast is an opportunity to get a proper portrayal: to choose 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. Kristen will continue to be part of the heart of the show in a new role, but we will find a new actress to lend her voice to Molly. “
Due to the long production cycle of an animated series, Season 2 has already been recorded and is currently being animated. The intention is for Molly’s role to be recast as soon as season 2, with her dialogue recorded again. (Big Mouth It will keep Slate as the voice of Missy in the next fourth season, already in the can, and will relaunch the role from season 5.)
In January at TCA, Bouchard faced criticism for regarding Bell as Molly’s voice. Bell “needed to be Molly, she was always going to honor that character. We couldn’t make Molly white or Kristen mixed race, so we had to move on, ”she said at the time.
In a note published on Instagram along with the statement of the Central Park Executive producers Bell said:
This is a time to acknowledge our acts of complicity. Here’s one of mine. Playing the character of Molly in Central Park 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 the African-American experience. It was wrong and we, in the Central Park Team, they promise to do it well. I am happy to hand this role over to someone who can give a much more accurate picture, and I will commit to learning, growing, and doing my part for equality and inclusion.
Central ParkThe first season is currently airing on Apple TV +. The cast of the series also includes Gad, Titus Burgess, Kathryn Hahn and Leslie Odom Jr., as well as Daveed Diggs and Stanley Tucci, who play female characters.
Here is the full statement of the Central ParkExecutive Producers, who commit to diversity “behind the microphone, in the writers’ room, in production and in post-production”:
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.