Netflix’s ‘Big Mouth’ recasts Missy with Ayo Edebiri replacing Jenny Slate
“Big Mouth” has found its new Missy Foreman-Greenwald.
The animated Netflix series will feature comedian Ayo Edebiri as the geeky, biracial, Future Ambassador of the Moon, the streaming service announced Friday. Edebiri, who is Black, steps in for Jenny Slate, who is white, after the latter vacated the role in June in deference to more representative casting.
Edebiri’s Missy will be introduced in the penultimate episode of Season 4 “as her character continues to evolve,” Netflix said. The series returns in the fall and Edebiri is slated to continue voicing Missy in the final episode and for future seasons. (The Emmy-nominated series has been renewed through Season 6.)
The comedian is also joining the “Big Mouth” writers room for Season 5. The series was co-created by longtime friends Nick Kroll and Andrew Goldberg and re-creates the cringe-inducing traumas of adolescence in a simultaneously filthy and emotionally insightful manner.
Kroll congratulated Edebiri on Friday via Instagram, saying that she won the role after an exhaustive auditioning process.
“Ayo is already a part of the Big Mouth family as a writer on the show, and was a tremendous addition to the team from day one,” he wrote. “I first saw her do standup a couple years ago and was blown away. I’ve also seen firsthand how deeply connected she is to Missy. I know she will take the baton from Jenny while making it very much her own as we continue to tell Missy’s ever-evolving story.”
Edebiri is also a co-producer on Tina Fey and Robert Carlock’s animated Netflix series “Mulligan.” Her other credits include an upcoming role in Season 2 of Apple’s “Dickinson,” a lead role in Netflix’s “We Lost Our Human” and writing for “Sunnyside.” She co-hosts the “Iconography” podcast for Forever Dog.
Amid nationwide marches for Black lives, Black animation professionals speak about systemic racism in the industry and the need for diversity.
When racial tensions surged after the police killing of George Floyd in May, change came for Hollywood as a handful of white actors departed roles better filled by people of color. Slate, Kristen Bell, Alison Brie and Mike Henry also stepped down from their animated roles to make way for more racially appropriate casting of their characters on “Big Mouth,” “Central Park,” “Bojack Horseman” and “Family Guy,” respectively. “The Simpsons” also announced that it would also recast its Black characters with Black actors.
Slate, who voiced Missy on “Big Mouth” since Season 1, said she stepped away from the role because her original decision to voice the character was “flawed” and “an example of white privilege.”
“At the start of the show, I reasoned with myself that it was permissible to play ‘Missy’ because her mom is Jewish and White — as am I,” Slate wrote on Instagram. “But ‘Missy’ is also Black, and Black characters on an animated show should be played by Black people.”
She apologized for “engaging in an act of erasure of Black people.”
At the time, Kroll also apologized and said he “took our privilege for granted, and we’re working hard to do better moving forward.”
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