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‘Central Park’: Loren Bouchard Addresses Casting Decisions for New Apple Animated Series

TCA: The "Bob's Burgers" creator explained the choices for having men voicing female roles and Kristen Bell voicing a biracial character in the new series.

Apple TV Central Park

This summer, Apple will debut a new musical animated series, “Central Park,” set in the iconic strip of Manhattan greenery and following the family living in the center of it.

“Central Park” also features characters outside the main family — notably, Daveed Diggs and Stanley Tucci both voice female characters, similar to the way that John Roberts and Dan Mintz do on “Central Park” creator Loren Bouchard’s long-running series “Bob’s Burgers.”

At the Television Critics Association 2020 Winter Press Tour in Pasadena, CA on Sunday morning, Bouchard addressed the new show’s casting decisions.

Animation just makes you want to take this voice and have it come out of this face. It’s so delicious that I just can’t stop myself,” Bouchard said. “Daveed playing Helen, we knew it early on it was gonna be so fun to do it. So we couldn’t look away once we imagined that. And the same for Stanley Tucci, playing this tiny lady with white hair. It’s like Margaret Thatcher glued onto a little dog. It’s this strange character that with his voice came together for us. Once you think of that, it is impossible not to get excited about it. Here I am, yet again taking away two roles from women. It’s something that I have on my mind all the time, trying to keep balancing things out.”

Kristen Bell, who reunites with “Frozen” castmate Josh Gad (one of the other series creators), plays Molly, the daughter in the four-person family at the heart of “Central Park.” Molly is a biracial character, a contradiction between performer and character that Bouchard said that he has been trying to balance out in other areas of the show.

“We’re always trying to both honor the urge to fool around and have fun with animation and also just balance that shit out. Get women of color in the cast, in the writers room, so that you feel at least that you’re always giving into the urge because you think there’s something there, some spark,” Bouchard said. “She’s gonna honor that character. Kristen needed to be Molly. We couldn’t not make her Molly. But then we couldn’t make Molly white and we couldn’t make Kristen mixed race, so we just had to go forward. So then you arrive there and say, ‘Well, we gotta just keep doing as best we can to balance, to turn around and give somebody an opportunity who wasn’t getting it.'”

Diggs also talked about his experiences recording the songs for the series, in which he plays Helen, the assistant to an elderly woman scheming for control of Central Park and the massive apartment building overlooking it. Despite his recent performance resume, Diggs explained that performing in a show like this might not be the breeze that other people may assume that it is.

“Singing stresses me out so much. I’d never sang in front of people until ‘Hamilton.’ But I grew up a rapper, so I’m very comfortable in studios. So those things sort of cancel each other out. But singing in front of people is the most terrifying thing,” Diggs said.

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