- The Apple Original animated series ‘Central Park’ will recast Kristen Bell’s biracial character of Molly with a black or mixed-race actress.
Amid racial equality demands on Hollywood following the death of George Floyd, and after Jenny Slate, a white actress, exited her biracial character on the irreverent Emmy-nominated Netflix original animated series Big Mouth, the team behind the Apple Original animated musical comedy Central Park has shown the intention to follow Slate and recast Kristen Bell’s biracial character of Molly.
“Kristen Bell is an extraordinarily talented actress who joined the cast of Central Park from nearly the first day of the show’s development — before there was even a character for her to play — and she has since delivered a funny, heartfelt, and beautiful performance,” a statement by Central Park’s creative team of Loren Bouchard, Josh Gad, Nora Smith, Halsted Sullivan, and Sanjay Shah said. “But 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. 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.”
Bell initially formed part of the cast as co-creator of the animated series and friend Josh Gad had initially reached out. “My first call was to my friend and colleague Kristen Bell, who I’d had such an incredible time working with on Frozen, and felt like the breadth of her skill in terms of singing hadn’t yet been explored to its fullest potential, even in the Frozen films,” he told previously to Entertainment Weekly.
Expressing her own “lack of awareness” of “pervasive privilege” by playing the biracial character whilst being a white actress, Bell wrote on Instagram that she and the team were happy to make it right by relinquishing the role of Molly to a Black or mixed-race actress that will not undermine the character and provide a more accurate portrayal.
The animated musical comedy Central Park is exclusive to the Apple TV+ streaming platform, and centers around a biracial family who live in the world’s most famous park while fending off a hotel heiress and her long-suffering assistant who pursue to turn the park into condos. The series stars Josh Gad, Leslie Odom Jr., Kristen Bell, Tituss Burgess, Daveed Diggs, Kathryn Hahn, and Stanley Tucci.