In The Know

Kristen Bell to step down from voicing biracial character on Apple’s ‘Central Park’

Christopher Polk/Getty Images for People's Choice Awards
Actress Kristen Bell attends the People’s Choice Awards 2017 at Microsoft Theater on January 18, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.

Kristen Bell will no longer voice a multi-racial character on AppleTV’s series “Central Park,” announcing the decision the same day Jenny Slate made a similar announcement regarding her role in Netflix’s “Big Mouth.”

In the animated comedy, Bell voices Molly, one of two children of a mixed-race couple, with the other voiced by Titus Burgess, who is African-American. Bell called taking the role an “act of complicity” in an Instagram post, saying it “undermines the specificity of the mixed race and Black American experience.

“After reflection, Kristen, along with the entire creative team, recognizes that the casting of the character of Molly is an opportunity to get representation right – to cast a Black or mixed race actress and give Molly a voice that resonates with all of the nuance and experiences of the character as we’ve drawn her,” creators Josh Gad, Loren Bouchard and Nora Smith said in a statement, according to Deadline.

“Kristen will continue to be a part of the heart of the show in a new role, but we will find a new actress to lend her voice to Molly,” they added. 

Bouchard, the creator of “Bob’s Burgers,” defended the casting of Bell in January at an industry event, saying 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 go forward.”

Dialogue for the show’s second season has already been recorded and the animation process is currently underway, but the producers of the show are tentatively planning to recast the character and rerecord the dialogue before the second season begins.

The announcement came the same day the creators of the Netflix animated series “Big Mouth” announced that Slate, a white accress, had made the decision to no longer voice a mixed-race character on the show.

Tags Central Park Jenny Slate Jenny Slate Kristen Bell Kristen Bell

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