Big Mouth co-creator, executive producer and star Nick Kroll said Wednesday that the show will recast the voice role of Missy, a biracial character on the Netflix animated series, with a black actress. The role had been voiced by Jenny Slate for the show’s first three seasons.
“We made a mistake, took our privilege for granted, and we are working hard to do better moving forward,” Kroll wrote in a Twitter post with fellow series creators Andrew Goldberg, Mark Levin and Jennifer Flackett. “We are proud of the representation that Missy has offered cerebral, sensitive women of color, and we plan to continue that representation and further grow Missy’s character as we recast a new Black actor to play her.” (You can read the full statement below.)
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One of Netflix’s most successful series, Big Mouth last summer landed the streamer’s biggest renewal: three additional seasons (4, 5 and 6). Season 4, which premieres this fall, already has wrapped with Slate voicing Missy. Search is underway for a new actor to voice the character starting with Season 5.
In her own statement, Slate explained her “flawed” reasoning for taking on the character.
“At the start of the show, I reasoned with myself that it was permissible for me to play ‘Missy’ because her mom is Jewish and White — as am I,” Slate wrote. “But ‘Missy’ is also Black, and Black characters on an animated show should be played by Black actors. I acknowledge how my original reasoning was flawed, that it existed as an example of white privilege and unjust allowances made within a system of social white supremacy, and that in me playing ‘Missy’, I was engaging in an act of erasure of Black people.” (you can read her full statement under the post.)
The half-hour adult animated comedy from real-life best friends Kroll and Goldberg is about the glorious nightmare that is teenaged puberty. Comedian John Mulaney lends his voice to the character of Andrew, while Kroll voices many characters including best friend Nick. The boys attempt to navigate school, friendships and growing up helped (and sometimes not so helped) by their assigned Hormone Monsters.
Maya Rudolph, Jason Mantzoukas, Jordan Peele, Fred Armisen and Jessi Klein are among those who lend their voice to the series, created and executive produced by Kroll, Goldberg and screenwriter-directors Levin & Flackett.
Big Mouth is a Netflix production.
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