Josh Gad: It Was ‘A Mistake’ to Have Kristen Bell Voice a Black Character on ‘Central Park’

Josh Gad, left, and Kristen Bell speak at the "Central Park" panel during the Apple+ TCA 2020 Winter Press Tour at the Langham Huntington, Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020, in Pasadena, Calif. (Photo by Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP)
Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP/Apple+

“We’re so excited to move forward,” said Central Park star and co-creator Josh Gad, who said replacing actress Kristen Bell as the voice of a black character on the animated show was “an easy decision to make.”

“It was frankly an easy decision to make. We all collectively understood, even before the events of the past few weeks, that we made a mistake, and you have to take ownership of that, and you have to move forward,” said Gad on Friday in an interview with NBC’s Today. “Kristen has been, as always, one of the most incredibly supportive and collaborative human beings in making this decision as she was to join the show, and so it was a no-brainer, and we’re so excited to move forward to find a new voice for Molly.”

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Kristen Bell — who was the voice of Molly, a mixed-race character on the Apple TV+ series Central Park — has agreed to relinquish her role after a full season of thirteen episodes.

In a statement on Instagram, Gad announced that “after reflection, Kristen, along with the entire creative team, recognizes that the casting 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.”

“We profoundly regret that we might have contributed to anyone’s feeling of exclusion or erasure,” added Gad.

Gad has been openly moved by recent events, as evidenced by his tweet on March 19, which featured a video of the actor crying about the Chinese coronavirus, alongside a caption, which read, “It’s okay to cry.”

“I cried for a second, and I was going to do it by myself and then I thought, you know what, it’s important for everybody to understand that we’re all going through so much uncertainty right now,” said an emotional Gad as a tear streamed down his face.

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“We’re going to get through it, and it’s hard,” he added. “And I’m emotional because I hate seeing our kids deprived of their normal lifestyles and not being able to understand why all of this is happening so quickly.”

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, on Parler at @alana, and on Instagram.

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