It’s been a month since Kristen Bell announced she was stepping away from voicing the mixed-race character of Molly Tillerman on Central Park. Apple TV+ has now found her replacement in the form of Hamilton alumna and Umbrella Academy star, Emmy Raver-Lampman. The announcement comes ahead of tonight’s Central Park, season one finale.
“From the moment we heard her Molly, we knew she was the right choice”
The Musical sitcom’s creators, Loren Bouchard, Josh Gad, Nora Smith, Halsted Sullivan, and Sanjay Shah released a joint statement to announce the official re-cast.
“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 team seemed visibly excited to get the Hamilton actress on board and described how she was their perfect match. “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.”
“Representation is vital and broadens our ability to tell stories”
Emmy took to Instagram to share the good news and her excitement about the upcoming project. “HOLY. COW. I cannot express how excited and honored I am to be joining the Central Park family. All the creatives and the amazing Kristen Bell have welcomed me with such open arms, support and endless enthusiasm. My face hurts from smiling so much!, the visibly excited actress wrote.
The actress also touched upon representation and the importance of diversity. “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.”
A Hamilton Reunion?
Raver-Lampman is popularly known for her role of Allison Hargreeves on Netflix’s X-Men-esque series Umbrella Academy. The actress is also famous for being a member of the original ensemble cast of the Broadway musical, Hamilton.
She will become the show’s third prominent former Hamilton cast member. Joining Leslie Odom Jr. (who plays Molly’s father, Owen Tillerman.) And Daveed Diggs (who voices the assistant to Stanley Tucci’s tyrannical Bitsy Brandenham).
“Casting of the character of Molly is an opportunity to get representation right”
News of the show’s re-casting comes amid a racial reckoning in the animated space, which has seen multiple white actors stop voicing characters of color. In June, Kristen Bell and the show’s creative team mutually decided that she would be stepping back from the role. An official statement by the show’s creative team announced the news.
“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.”
“It shows a lack of awareness of my pervasive privilege.”
Kristen also released her own statement at the time, saying that her voicing the character “shows a lack of awareness of my pervasive privilege.” Bell’s statement read, “Casting a mixed race character w/a white actress undermines the specificity of the mixed race & Black American experience.”
Kristen was also ecstatic about welcoming Emmy on the show. On Friday, the Frozen star took to her Instagram to excitedly share the news.
‘I am brimming with excitement to welcome Emmy Raver-Lampman to the “Central Park” cast as “Molly,” Kristen wrote. ‘Emmy’s infectious charm and sheer aptitude will breathe a new and effervescent life into the character. One that Molly definitely deserves,’ Bell continued.
“We consider ourselves lucky to have both of these women as part of our Family”
When Kristen’s departure was announced, creators said she would remain with the show in a new role, which has yet to be determined.
The creators said in a statement,“Our gratitude for and thanks to Kristen Bell and the fantastic work she did in Season 1 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 1. 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.”
Central Park has a two-season order at Apple TV+. Raver-Lampman joins a voice cast that includes Josh Gad, Leslie Odom Jr., Kathryn Hahn, Tituss Burgess, Daveed Diggs and Stanley Tucci. Fans can also catch Raver-Lampman next in season 2 of The Umbrella Academy, which drops July 31, on Netflix.
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