Apple's 'Central Park' Casts Kristen Bell's Replacement

Emmy Raver-Lampman  - Publicity - H 2020
Joanna DeGeneres

Apple's animated series Central Park has cast a new actress to play a biracial character previously voiced by Kristen Bell.

Emmy Raver-Lampman (The Umbrella Academy, Hamilton) will take over the role of Molly Tillerman in the show's second season. The recasting comes a month after the show's creative team said it would look for a Black or biracial actress to play Molly, amid a continuing reckoning over representation in the industry. Netflix's Big Mouth will also recast a biracial character previously played by Jenny Slate. 

"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," said the creative team from Central Park — Loren Bouchard, Josh Gad, Nora Smith, Halsted Sullivan and Sanjay Shah — in a statement. "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.

"Our gratitude for and thanks to Kristen Bell and the fantastic work she did in season one can never be overstated. And as we look for new ways to utilize Kristen's brilliant vocal talents moving forward, we are forever grateful for her support, her camaraderie, and most importantly her beautiful performance as Molly Tillerman in season one. We consider ourselves lucky to have both of these women as part of our Central Park family with so many more stories ready to be told."

When the decision to recast Molly was announced, Bell wrote in an Instagram post that "Playing the character of Molly on Central Park 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. It was wrong and we, on the Central Park team, are pledging to make it right."

Raver-Lampman is a regular on Netflix's The Umbrella Academy, whose second season premieres July 31. Her onscreen credits also include Jane the Virgin and A Million Little Things. She was in the ensemble for the original Broadway production of Hamilton and played Angelica Schuyler in the show's first national touring company. She is repped by WME, Authentic Talent and Literary Management, and The Nord Group.