The New ‘Rick and Morty’ Voice Actors Say the Audition Process Was Like Entering the Citadel of Ricks

Ian Cardoni and Harry Belden are finally speaking publicly about the most exhaustive talent search in Adult Swim history
The New ‘Rick and Morty’ Voice Actors Say the Audition Process Was Like Entering the Citadel of Ricks

Ian Cardoni and Harry Belden say that auditioning for the roles of Rick and Morty with hopes of being hired was a lot like walking into the Citadel of Ricks thinking that anyone would be impressed by your cowboy hat.

Six episodes into Cardoni and Belden’s tenure as the titular main characters of Rick and MortyAdult Swim finally allowed their new stars to speak in their own voices about the grueling selection process they both endured to fill the highest-profile voice acting vacancies in recent memory. Before Cardoni and Belden landed the Rick and Morty roles respectively, they were both working actors with an intense love for Rick and Morty and solid impression skills that were, thus far, used exclusively on entertaining friends and other local Rick and Morty fans. Then, when Adult Swim began its exhaustive search for the new voices of their flagship franchise, Cardoni and Belden received their invitations to audition like two Charlies scoring tickets to the chocolate factory.

But when the six-month voiceover battle royale began in earnest, Cardoni and Belden both realized how daunting the task of booking the gig really was – in a joint interview with The Hollywood Reporter published yesterday, the co-stars reflected on the barely surmountable odds they both beat to earn their spots atop the credits for the biggest show in modern adult animation. Cardoni said of the early cattle-call stages of the auditions, “If you picture The Citadel of Ricks, that’s not not far off,” with Belden adding, “Just picture a Zoom waiting room full of people in yellow T-shirts and lab coats.” Or, alternatively, just imagine a McDonald’s promotional event in 2017.

“It was easily the longest and most intense audition process I’ve ever been a part of, but it was also the most fun,” Belden said of the selection process. “The people running the auditions kept throwing curveballs at us — things you’d never hear these characters doing — just to see if we could stay in character.” 

Hidden among those curve balls were tidbits and plot points that have already made it into episodes of Season 7 episodes, such as the surprise mind-meld of Rick and Jerry in “The Jerrick Trap.” Cardoni recalled a specific session “where I had to do some matching to Chris Parnell’s character, who had voiced his half of a combined being. That’s a skill to match existing animation but also match the timing of another actor without that actor being there.”

Belden and Cardoni both claimed that, throughout the process, the last thing on their minds was the odds of actually landing the gigs. Cardoni said of his own mindset throughout the uncertainty, “I kept coming back to how excited I was as a fan to get the chance to step into that role, to be able to say, ‘Wow, I could step into the shoes of this iconic character I’ve known for years.’” Belden similarly added, “I was just like, ‘No matter what happens from now on, I can always tell people I got to audition for Rick and Morty,’ and that’s pretty cool.”

Both artists still have a hard time believing that they’ve actually landed their dream roles, but the results speak for themselves. Despite the drama surrounding their predecessor’s removal, the internet has been almost entirely complimentary of Cardoni and Belden’s performances and the pair couldn’t be happier with the product they’re putting out. “Season Seven is the best Rick and Morty has ever been,” Belden claimed, “The writing is top-tier. We have felt so welcomed by the production people working on the show, but also by the fans, and the online community have been so welcoming and supportive. We’d just like to say, ‘Thank you.’”

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