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Ian Cardoni, Harry Belden, and Scott Marder on RICK AND MORTY: SEASON 7

Written By:

Anthony Oleszkiewicz

In the spiky-haired shadow of RICK AND MORTY co-creator Justin Roiland’s departure from the show, two new voice actors were cast to fill the green portal-slinging lead roles. STARBURST was given the opportunity to talk to new cast members IAN CARDONI and HARRY BELDEN, along with current series showrunner SCOTT MARDER, about their challenges giving a new voice to the latest season…

STARBURST: Were you two fans of the show before you took over?

Ian Cardoni: A hundred percent! I’ve been watching since the early days, so to be working on one of my own favourite shows is a dream come true.

Harry Belden: Yeah, I’ve been a fan of the show since day one; it’s such an honour to step into these shoes.

Harry Belden (Morty Smith)

Rick and Morty are already such iconic characters, but as voice actors and artists, it must be difficult to bring your own creative voice to them, especially after, like you say, being there since day one. Do you feel you have the freedom to bring your own creative ideas to these characters?

IC: I certainly hope so, and I hope some of that has come through. I approach it as an actor would – these are fully fleshed-out characters with histories going back to 10 years of the show. We’ve been along for that ride growing with them, and now it’s just a matter of taking that forward; taking the next steps, growing with them just from the inside. It’s not lost on me that these characters mean a lot to so many fans, myself included, worldwide. So the goal is just to give my best Rick any time I walk into the booth.

Ian Cardoni (Rick Sanchez)

HB: I think that Ian and I are in a unique and privileged position that we’ve had six seasons of watching this show to get to see who these characters are and how they operate and to then step into their headspace. I think that by being unique individuals, as everyone is, of course, we’re going to bring something a little bit different, something about who we are, to that character. One of the big challenges of this season has not just been doing the voices, but staying true to the character and to the fantastic writing of the show.

The latest season has an emphasis on bringing back characters from previous episodes. You have Mr Poopybutthole in the first episode and Unity later on… it feels like it’s planting a foundation on its expanded cast in a Simpsons-style way. What led to this creative decision and is this Rick and Morty‘s directive going forward?

Scott Marder: Definitely not the directive! It was sort of a happy accident. The episodes come to life on an individual basis. We always have an idea going on like the background arc, but Unity ended up being a great fix to episode three, in that we needed this thing to bring everything together. Like, “oh you know what? It’d be really cool if Unity was the thing that brought everything together and it’d be even cooler if she came on the radar because she heard out in the galaxy the Rick was fucking around with the idea of Rick Prime again”. And even though they’re exes, she knows that it could be bad for him. So we knew in that episode we wanted to do a little lily pad that would get us to episode five. Unity was a really cool, organic way to do that because Rick hasn’t had a lot of relationships that have really mattered in terms of this show. Diane was the essential theme of this season and Rick Prime was a real conduit to that. But then Poopy just separately was… well, it made us laugh at the idea that everyone’s so used to him being in the tags at the end of the season that we thought, “they would never expect just to pick up where we left off the previous year and just really invest in him”. It was really organic to get the gang back together for that one. We felt like that was just a refreshing palette cleanser.

Scott Marder (Showrunner)

All three of you have inherited the show from other creatives and worked on it through a rather tumultuous break-up with one of its biggest voices. What is it that attracted you all to Rick and Morty creatively?

SM: I feel like all of us individually feel like we’ve won the lottery getting to work on it. I just worshipped it. I worshipped how every episode was so different: pushing the boundaries and splitting my brain. When I ended up getting the opportunity to actually step into the shoes, that enthusiasm just spilled out like day one. I’m like, “All right, give me the download on Evil Morty! Give me the download on this!” Give me all the things that I love and I want to keep running with them because I’m so pumped to be here. It was really cool when these guys joined to feel that enthusiasm match because everyone can feel it, you know? We have 100-200 people on the production, the whole crew can feel that energy. It pushes everybody. This is a hard show and every episode is a real marathon. So that energy and then enthusiasm gets us through the wild amount of rewrites we do to give you guys the best show that we can.

HB: I would completely agree with Scott. I mean as a fan of the show, it made me laugh, incredibly hard obviously – it’s a hilarious show – but I think the other thing that really attracted me was just that every time you started an episode, you couldn’t in a million years guess where it’s going to wind up… Rick and Morty will keep you guessing until the very, very end. It never goes the way you think. And to me that’s so much fun to sit down with a new episode and go, “I can’t wait to see what they do this week!”

IC: Yeah, I think these two really said it, and then having met my fellow cast mates and many people of those 200 that work on the show, seeing how much everybody working on it really cares… it makes me want to work harder. It’s calling me to bring my A-game and it’s so inspiring to see everybody coming together. So that’s really cool.

Season 7 of RICK AND MORTY is available to stream on Channel 4 and to purchase digitally via Apple TV.

Anthony Oleszkiewicz

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