After Kristen Bell (Frozen II) departed the role in June in an effort to seek proper representation in casting the part, Central Park‘s Molly has found a new voice in the form of The Umbrella Academy star Emmy Raver-Lampman, according to Deadline.
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The death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police sent a shockwave through Hollywood with Bell and the creative team on the series mutually deciding she would step down from the role and would seek a Black or mixed-race actress for Molly in an effort to “get representation right.” Central Park was one of two major series to do so in June alongside Netflix’s Big Mouth, which saw Jenny Slate step down from a similar character in favor of casting an appropriately-raced star in the role of Missy Foreman-Greenwald.
“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,” Central Park’s creative team of Loren Bouchard, Josh Gad, Nora Smith, Halsted Sullivan and Sanjay Shah said in a joint 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.”
Though Raver-Lampman may be taking over from Bell as Molly in the Apple TV+ series, the creators and Golden Globe nominee are currently working together to find a different role to “utilize Kristen’s brilliant vocal talents moving forward,” with the creators expressing their “gratitude” and being “forever grateful” for her work on the first season as Molly.
Central Park follows a family of caretakers, the Tillermans, who lives in the titular New York City locale. As park manager Owen and journalist Paige raise their kids, they must fend off hotel heiress Bitsy Brandenham and her long-suffering assistant, who would love nothing more than to turn the park into condos.
The voice cast features Josh Gad, Leslie Odom Jr. (Hamilton), Titus Burgess (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), Kristen Bell (The Good Place), Stanley Tucci (Feud), Daveed Diggs (Hamilton), and Kathryn Hahn (I Love Dick).
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The series is created and executive produced by Bouchard, Gad and Nora Smith (Bob’s Burgers), who will also be serving as a consultant. Regina Hicks, Sanjay Shah and Halstead Sullivan are also executive producing. Kevin Larsen will produce alongside Brillstein Entertainment Partners, who are executive producing.
The series hails from 20th Century Fox Television, which produces animated hits Bob’s Burgers, The Simpsons, Family Guy, and American Dad, to name a few. The order for the show is for 13 episodes per season, totaling 26 in the two-season order. Central Park is a key sale for 20th Century Fox Television, which had been acquired by Disney as part of 21st Century Fox’s larger $52 billion deal.
(Photo Credit: Bennett Raglin/WireImage)