Apple TV+’s Central Park has found its new Molly Tillerman in Emmy Raver-Lampman. The announcement was made ahead of last night’s season finale.
The role was originally voiced by Kristen Bell, but a month ago that actress announced she would no longer voice the biracial on the animated series. She announced her departure through a statement on Instagram with a caption in saying that her voicing the character “shows a lack of awareness of my pervasive privilege.”
“Casting a mixed-race character with a white actress undermines the specificity of the mixed-race and Black American experience,” she continued. “It was wrong and we, on the Central Park team, are pledging to make it right. I am happy to relinquish this role to someone who can give a much more accurate portrayal and I will commit to learning, growing, and doing my part for equality and inclusion.”
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Her decision was fully supported by the show’s creative team which released a statement stating, “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’s exit from the role came amid the racial reckoning occurring in Hollywood and around the world following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police. While Bell departed from the role of Molly Tillerman she will still star in Central Park, however, her new character has yet to be determined.
Raver-Lampman, who is currently starring in Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy shared the news on her Instagram.
I cannot express how excited and honored I am to be joining the Central Park family. All the creatives and the amazing Kristin [sic] Bell have welcomed me with such open arms, support, and endless enthusiasm. My face hurts from smiling so much! Representation is vital and broadens our ability to tell stories. I know I have some massive shoes to fill, but I only hope that my lived experience will enrich Molly’s story and make her even more lovable than she already is.
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Central Park follows the Tillermans, a family that lives in Central Park. Owen, the park manager, and Paige, his journalist wife, raise their kids Molly and Cole in the world’s most famous park while fending off hotel heiress Bitsy Brandenham and her long-suffering assistant Helen, who would love nothing more than to turn the park into condos.
Joining the animated series will feel like a reunion for Raver-Lampman as she’s the third Hamilton alum to join the cast. Original Hamilton cast members Daveed Diggs and Leslie Odom Jr. each voice characters. Also Gad, Bell, Kathryn Hahn, Tituss Burgess, and Stanley Tucci star in the series.
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Central Park executive producers Loren Bouchard, Josh Gad, Nora Smith, Halsted Sullivan, and Sanjay Shah said in a joint statement to E! News, “After an extensive casting process that brought a number of incredible contenders to the forefront of our Molly search, we could not be more thrilled, honored, and certain that we have found the perfect marriage of character to voice in the amazing Emmy Raver-Lampman.”
The continued, “from the moment we heard her Molly, we knew she was the right choice. Her comedic chops, endearing spirit and other-worldly singing prowess have us jumping with joy at the possibilities of this already wonderful character moving forward.”
Central Park, which has a two-season order at Apple TV+, hails from Bob’s Burgers creator/EP Bouchard. Bouchard co-created it with Bob’s Burgers executive producer Smith and Gad.