Rick and Morty have new voice actors. The iconic animated sci-fi duo have been given a new lease of life by replacement voice actors, Ian Cardoni and Harry Belden, both of whom have spoken out on their delight at landing the roles.
In an exclusive interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Cardoni and Belden lifted the lid on the challenge of taking control of two of the most popular animated characters of the modern era.
Rick and Morty has become something of an institution
This adult-animated sci-fi sitcom is now firmly engrained in popular culture. This year, Rick and Morty celebrated its 10-year anniversary and is now in its seventh season with Cardoni and Belden on the mics.
It’s long been one of the most viewed TV comedies for young adults and was recently confirmed as a $100 million merchandising and media franchise. Cartoon Network has confirmed the show will continue through to season 10 at an absolute minimum.
It’s no surprise when you consider the demand for these crazy characters away from the television screens too. The 2017 virtual reality-based Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-Ality was a big hit among HTC Vive, PS VR, and Oculus Rift users.
The Pocket Mortys mobile casual game from Adult Swim Games also went down a storm. Meanwhile, the Rick and Morty slot game is one of several online slots listed at PokerStars Casino, with a progressive jackpot feature known as Jackpot King. It sits alongside other pop culture favorites, including The Goonies and Ted.
Why were Belden and Cardoni needed?
With the show’s co-founder and former star, Justin Roiland, off the radar, moves were made to breathe new life into the show by recruiting Cardoni and Belden onto the scene.
Cardoni, who grew up near Boston, MA, has been a professional actor for some time and is a self-confessed sci-fi and fantasy buff. As for Belden, the Chicago-bred actor has been involved in voice roles for Disney in Christmas… Again?!, FOX’s Proven Innocent, and NBC’s Chicago Med and Chicago Fire.
The arduous audition process
To be enlisted as the new voices of Rick and Morty, steering the show into its seventh season and beyond, both Cardoni and Belden could barely conceal their excitement in their interview with journalist, James Hibberd.
So much so that Hibberd describes the pair as more like “superfans” of the show, acting as if they’ve just “won the lottery”. The pair revealed the process of becoming the new voice actors of Rick and Morty.
The audition process was described as being sat in a “Zoom waiting room” with people in “yellow T-shirts and lab coats”, all vying for the chance to be the next Rick or Morty. Cardoni said the process was far different from any other auditions he’s been involved with in the past.
He revealed their initial entries for the roles were made in the middle of February and it was four months later that they would earn the positions. In the meantime, Cardoni said there were “many rounds” of auditions.
Belden agreed, describing the process as the “most intense” of his fledgling acting career. Belden provided even deeper insight into the auditions, with the team continually “throwing curveballs” at them, to see how easy it was for people to remain in character.
In terms of their respective acting backgrounds, Belden has spent some time doing commercial voiceover work, alongside spells in Chicago-based shows such as Chicago Med and Chicago Fire. As for Cardoni, he’s spent most of his voiceover career in the “promo side of things” but always enjoyed the prospect of doing impressions and character voices.
In fact, Belden had even managed to perfect his own impersonations of Rick and Morty in the past. His friends considered them good enough and, as time passed, Belden realized these impersonations quickly became something he “thought [he] could really do”. Ironically, Belden and Cardoni applied for both roles. This is nothing unusual according to the pair, especially as most Rick and Morty fans can imitate both.
Belden admitted he thought his Rick impersonation was better than his Morty, despite getting the gig as Morty. Similarly, Cardoni felt his Morty impersonation “was getting stronger” as the auditions went on, but he would eventually get the gig as Rick.
Belden and Cardoni both described the moment they knew they’d got the roles as a “dream come true”. While there’s been solid praise for the new voices, the new duo hasn’t escaped criticism either.
The pair admit they avoid heading down any online rabbit holes, instead preferring to be their own harshest critics. This is a show that’s been consistently highly rated online platforms like Rotton Tomatoes and although Season 7 hasn’t yet lived up to the same expectations, this has more to do with storylines than any slight on the voiceovers.