Back in June, actress Jenny Slate announced that she would be departing her role as the character Missy on Netflix’s animated series Big Mouth. The decision came after reflection on her role in the show in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement, when she realized that it was inappropriate and unfair for her to voice a Black character, taking away a role that could and should go to a Black actress. Now Jenny Slate’s replacement has been found, and Big Mouth creators didn’t have to go far to find her.
Comedian Ayo Edebiri will be taking on the role of Missy in Big Mouth after initially joining the series as a writer for the fifth season. Though she won’t be the voice of Missy for most of the upcoming fourth season on Netflix, she will take over the role at a pivotal moment later in the season. Get the details on the new voice of Missy on Big Mouth below.
Variety has news on Ayo Edebiri taking over as the new voice of Missy on Big Mouth. The comedian told the trade:
“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.I’m back home in my childhood bedroom right now and on my bookshelf in between ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’ is Bill Clinton’s autobiography and Nelson Mandela’s autobiography and a translation of ‘The Iliad’ in Latin. I was a true dork. So I don’t think I have to go too far to connect with Missy.”
Me irl: Animated me: pic.twitter.com/tJDH1XN5Wg
— Ayo Edebiri (@ayoedebiri) August 28, 2020
Jenny Slate’s voice will still be heard as Missy throughout most of the show’s fourth season. But Edebiri will take over in the season’s penultimate episode. Series co-creator Andrew Goldberg explained:
“By the time we made the decision to cast Ayo, we had finished all of Season 4 and delivered it to Netflix,” he shares. With production lead time on animation, the team didn’t think they could replace the whole season of Missy’s dialogue — nor did they want “Ayo to have to start her journey with this part by matching what Jenny did already. That’s not a way for her to make it her own.”
Instead, series co-creator Jennifer Flackett found a certain moment towards the end of the fourth season that offered them “a really organic and cool place” for Edebiri to step in and take over. Fellow series co-creator and Big Mouth star Nick Kroll added:
“It’s about Missy’s continued evolution as a person — that she has all of these different parts of who she is. There’s the sidelines Missy and the more sexually adventurous Missy, mirror Missy, and then also this Missy that she’s been discovering [in Season 4] through hanging out with her cousins and really taking a look at her Black identity.”
This should be an interesting transition to behold, and I think it might be the first time that a change in voice talent has been handled in such an organic way before. Edebiri noted, “The transition is a nice farewell to Jenny in that moment, too, in a way.” The comedian says that everything Slate did leading up to this help informed the voice that she’ll bring to the table.
Though Edibiri was already in-house for consideration by the Big Mouth creators, they also heard submissions from people across social media. Kroll revealed, “We had a lot of people submitting off of Twitter and Instagram and we brought in a bunch of those people. We let people self-tape and submit — and a few of those people came down to the final very short list of people we considered to hire.”
Edibiri previously wrote for NBC’s comedy series Sunnyside, and she also worked on Robert Carlock and Tina Fey’s upcoming series Mulligan. We’ll also hear her voice in We Lost Our Human, another animated series in the works from Netflix, and she wrote and starred in the upcoming second season of Dickinson on Apple TV+, another series where she landed a role after joining the writers room.
The fourth season of Big Mouth doesn’t currently have a release date, but it might arrived before the end of 2020.
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