Keke Palmer is joining Maya Rudolph as part of the voice cast of Netflix’s Big Mouth spinoff, Human Resources. According to Variety, the announcement was made during Netflix’s presentation at the Annecy Animation Film Festival.
The spinoff takes place in the supernatural world where hormone monsters, shame wizards, depression kitties, and other emotion-based creatures help humanity through life stages. The cast also includes Aidy Bryant, Randall Park, David Thewlis, Big Mouth Season 4 writer Brandon Kyle Goodman and Big Mouth creator Nick Kroll.
“You have these characters that represent a major force in the human condition,” said Kroll during the presentation. “The challenge has been that these characters don’t only function according to one thing they do professionally…Building out the characters in that complex way has been a joy.”
While Big Mouth has been one of Netflix’s most popular animated series, the show has dealt with controversy when attention turned to white actors who play Black animated characters in the wake of the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade and others. Jenny Slate, who voiced Big Mouth character Missy, stepped down from the role.
Writing on Instagram in June 2020, Slate wrote, “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.”
Kroll and fellow Big Mouth creators Andrew Goldberg, Mark Levin and Jennifer Flackett also posted a statement to Twitter about Slate leaving the role, writing, “We sincerely aplogize for and regret our original decision to cast a white actor to voice a biracial character. We made a mistake, took our privilege for granted, and we’re working hard to do better moving forward.”
Ayo Edebiri has since taken over voicing the character.