Nick Kroll is making some changes to the “Big Mouth” cast.
The actor shared a statement to social media on Wednesday, revealing that he and his Netflix team will recast the role of Missy, voiced by Jenny Slate, and give the opportunity to a Black actor. Slate, a white woman, has voiced Missy, a Black character, for all three seasons.
Missy duties will now go to Black comedian Ayo Edebiri. Slate will voice Missy, a Black character, for most of season 4 before handing the reigns to Edebiri in the season’s penultimate episode.
“The transition is a nice farewell to Jenny in that moment, too, in a way,” Edebiri told Variety. “The voice I found is also because of the work Jenny did, too.”
Me irl: Animated me: pic.twitter.com/tJDH1XN5Wg
— Ayo Edebiri (@ayoedebiri) August 28, 2020
“I was definitely a very uncomfortable child, so I think the show speaks to that and a lot of those feelings, which still resonate with me as an adult,” she continued. “I was a true dork. So I don’t think I have to go too far to connect with Missy.”
Kroll previously acknowledged it was a mistake to cast a white voice actor as a Black character.
“After thoughtful discussion with us and our Black collaborators, Jenny Slate has decided, and we wholeheartedly agree, that Missy on Big Mouth should be voiced by a Black actor,” he wrote.
“We made a mistake, took our privilege for granted, and we’re working hard to do better moving forward,” Kroll added. “We are proud of the representation that Missy has offered cerebral, sensitive women of colour, and we plan to continue that representation and further grow Missy’s character as we recast a new Black actor to play her.”
— nick kroll (@nickkroll) June 24, 2020
Slate also released her own statement:
“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. But ‘Missy’ is also Black, and Black characters on an animated show should be played by Black people,” she wrote.
“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 societal white supremacy, and that in me playing ‘Missy,’ I was engaging in an act of erasure of Black people,” she continued. “Ending my portrayal of ‘Missy’ is one step in a life-long process of uncovering the racism in my actions.”
Season 3 of “Big Mouth” is now streaming on Netflix.