Emmy Raver-Lampman to replace Kristen Bell as biracial animated character

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As Hollywood continues to grapple with representation in film and animation, Apple +’s Central Park animated series has finally found someone to voice the biracial character Molly Tillerman. Kristen Bell stepped down from the role during a time that several white actors like Jenny Slate decided to stop voicing characters of color to make room for diverse casting.

After several months searching and many tryouts, Central Park creators have settled on Umbrella Academy and Hamilton actress, Emmy-Raver-Lampman, to take on the role. I personally know Emmy as Allison Hargreeves in Umbrella Academy. I am currently impatiently waiting for Season 2 to drop later this month. Hollywood Reporter speaks with the creators for the show on the process they have gone through to cast Emmy.

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. “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 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.”

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.”

[From The Hollywood Reporter]

It is a good thing that many of these actors are beginning to really see the immense privilege that they have. They’re realizing how they have been a part of the systemic problem by doing something as simple as a voicing a person of color on an animated program. It is sad that it has taken this long for them to come to this realization but it is never too late. With that being said, I hope many are actually doing the work and not using this moment to perform solidarity while failing to understand what that takes.

In the meantime, I hope to see more people of color go after the roles that were written about them but not seemingly for them. Hopefully we will begin to see an evening out of sorts in the entertainment world and that these casting decisions will become more inclusive and second nature.

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5 Responses to “Emmy Raver-Lampman to replace Kristen Bell as biracial animated character”

  1. Esmom says:

    This is great. Baby steps. She’s lovely.

  2. Melissai says:

    This is great news! I’m more excited for this show now. I love Bob’s Burgers but find Kristin exhausting. I loved Emmy on Umbrella Academy!

  3. ethy says:

    This is awesome, she’s super talented. Also can’t wait for Umbrella Academy, season 1 was sooo good!

  4. nicegirl says:

    I’m stoked on this change!!

  5. liz says:

    She is just wonderful. I saw her in Hamilton and she has an incredible presence. Even when she was in the ensemble, you noticed her on stage.

    “Written about them, but not for them” is a very powerful way to phrase what has been happening. Well said.

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