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‘Central Park’ Exec Producer Takes Heat for Voice Casting Choices – TCA

Diane Haithman

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Central Park, an Apple TV+ animated musical comedy slated to launch this summer, is the brainchild of Emmy Award winner Loren Bouchard (Bob’s Burgers), EP Nora Smith (Bob’s Burgers) and EP Josh Gad. But it was Bouchard, who appeared on today’s TCA panel with Gad and voice actors Kristen Bell and Daveed Diggs, who took the heat for voice casting decisions.

After some amiable chatter about the panelists’ love of musicals, Bouchard was asked a pointed question about casting male voice actors as female characters in both Bob’s Burgers and Central Park.

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Bob’s Burgers cast includes Dan Mintz as Tina Belcher and John Roberts as Linda Belcher. In the new series, Diggs and Stanley Tucci both voice female characters.

“First, I’ll just speak to the temptation,“ Bouchard said. “Animation just makes you want to take this voice and have it come out of this face, (it’s) so delicious I can’t help myself.“ He said the choices were made because “We knew it was going to be so fun to do it.”

Bouchard said he couldn’t resist the humor in Tucci voicing this tiny lady with white hair. “It’s like Margaret Thatcher glued onto a little dog…Here I am, yet again taking away two roles from women.”

Bouchard also pointed out that he had cast Bell as the voice of Molly, a mixed-race girl, but Bell “needed to be Molly, she was always going to honor that character. We couldn’t make Molly white or Kristen mixed race, so we had to go forward.”

Bouchard said he remains committed to “keep balancing this sh*t out” when it comes to gender and race in voice casting. “To me, it’s selfish (it’s not just about jobs) but to keep making your stuff better,” he said.

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