According to Variety, Kristen Bell (Frozen) going forward will not be voicing Central Park‘s character Molly Tillerman. Both the creative team and Bell made an announcement regarding this, with the creative team stating via Variety, “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.”
Bell released her statement via Twitter. “Casting a mixed race character w/a white actress undermines the specificity of the mixed race & Black American experience,” Bell said.
This is a time to acknowledge our acts of complicity. Heres 1 of mine. Playing the Molly in Central Park shows a lack of awareness of my pervasive privilege. Casting a mixed race character w/a white actress undermines the specificity of the mixed race & Black American experience. pic.twitter.com/8AL8m4K7Uk
— Kristen Bell (@KristenBell) June 25, 2020
Creator of the series, Loren Bouchard (Bob’s Burgers), originally had no plans on re-casting Bell’s role when asked the question was addressed at a panel in January, via Variety.
“Kristen needed to be Molly; we couldn’t not make her Molly,” said Bouchard according to Variety. “But then we couldn’t make Molly white and we couldn’t make Kristen mixed race so we just had to go forward. And then we arrived there and said, ‘Well… we gotta just keep doing the best we can to balance, to turn around and give somebody the opportunity who wasn’t getting it… A commitment to diversity isn’t some odd job, it’s a commitment to making stuff better.” Bell will likely return as a new character, with Molly’s voice being re-cast.
The series made their announcement hours after Jenny Slate (Zootopia) announced her drop of voicing biracial Big Mouth character, Missy. Central Park is currently 5 episodes into their first season which can be streamed on Apple TV+. There is no word on a season 2 yet, or an official replacement for Bell’s role.