Kristen Bell, who vacated her role voicing a biracial character, expressed her excitement over Raver-Lampman's casting.
There is a new Molly Tillerman on Apple TV+'s Central Park.
After Kristen Bell announced last month she would no longer be voicing the character -- who is biracial -- on the animated series, the producers shared on Friday that Hamilton alumna and Umbrella Academy star Emmy Raver-Lampman will take over the role. The character of Molly is biracial. Following Bell's departure, the intent was to find a Black or multiracial actress to provide Molly's voice.
"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," executive producers Loren Bouchard, Josh Gad, Nora Smith, Halsted Sullivan and Sanjay Shah said in a joint statement to ET. "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."
The creative team behind Central Park went on to thank Bell, who will lend her voice in a new role, for her contributions as Molly in season 1.
"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 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," the statement continued. "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."
Soon after news of Raver-Lampman's casting, Bell took to Instagram to express her excitement.
"I am brimming with excitement to welcome Emmy Raver-Lampman to the Central Park cast as 'Molly.' Emmy's infectious charm and sheer aptitude will breathe a new and effervescent life into the character. One that Molly definitely deserves," Bell wrote Friday. "I have been a fan of Emmy's work for a while, and am now lucky to now call her a friend. Can’t wait to see you in the park, Emmy."
Gad also welcomed Raver-Lampman to the Central Park family, sharing the joint statement he and his fellow producers issued.
Notably, Raver-Lampman is the third Hamilton alum to join the Central Park cast. Original cast members Leslie Odom Jr. (Owen Tillerman, Molly's father) and Daveed Diggs (Helen, Bitsy Brandenham's assistant) are among the voice cast, which includes Gad, Tituss Burgess, Kathryn Hahn and Stanley Tucci.
In June, Bell departed her voice role as Molly, acknowledging that taking on the character showed "a lack of awareness of my pervasive privilege" and that it was an act of "complicity" on her part, she wrote at the time.
"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," Bell said. "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."
Just last week, Gad acknowledged recasting Molly was the right thing to do amid a tumultuous time when Hollywood has been forced to re-evaluate its diversity and inclusivity practices in front of and behind the camera.
"I could not love Kristen Bell more than I already knew I loved her, because it wasn't even a discussion," Gad told ET. "This is what we're going to all do collectively to make sure that we get this right."
"And in terms of finding the person to replace Kristen as Molly, it's a really hard task," he said. "I will say that we've been immersed already in listening to so many unbelievable auditions, and some very well-known people, some not well-known people. It's been thrilling to see the excitement and the love that people seem to have for this character in this role that Kristen created. Everybody's bringing their own unique take on it, so I hope that we have something to announce very soon."
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