Umbrella Academy star Emmy Raver-Lampman has been announced as Kristen Bell’s replacement on animated comedy Central Park, after the Frozen actress said she would no longer voice a mixed-race character.
Bell, who is white, had played Molly on the Apple TV+ show but stepped down from the role last month. She said playing the character “shows a lack of awareness of my pervasive privilege”.
Now, 31-year-old Raver-Lampman, also known for starring in Broadway musical Hamilton, has announced she is taking over as Molly from season two.
She wrote on Instagram: “I cannot express how excited and honoured I am to be joining the Central Park family. All the creatives and the amazing Kristin 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.”
Bell commented on the post and said: “You are absolutely perfect in every way and will give molly an incredible life!!!!!”
Raver-Lampman will be the third former Hamilton star to appear on Central Park, following in the footsteps of Daveed Diggs and Leslie Odom Jr, who also voice characters.
Bell stepped down from Central Park in June and said: “Casting a mixed race character with a white actress undermines the specificity of the mixed race and Black American experience. ”
Central Park producers said at the time the role of Molly would be recast with a black actor in the role, adding: “We profoundly regret that we might have contributed to anyone’s feeling of exclusion or erasure.”
Bell is not the only example of a white actor voicing a character of colour. On the same day Bell stepped down from Central Park, Jenny Slate did the same on animated series Big Mouth.
Slate, who is also white, said voicing a black character was “engaging in an act of erasure of Black people”.
And Hank Azaria confirmed in January he would no longer lend his voice to Indian shopkeeper Apu on The Simpsons, following years of controversy.