Rick And Morty's Sarah Chalke On Finding The Differences Between Beth And Space Beth [Exclusive]

One of the joys of animation is hearing a single actor play a myriad of characters. Voiceover work gives an actor the opportunity to explore their range in a totally unexpected way. In Adult Swim's popular series "Rick and Morty," co-creator Justin Roiland voices the two titular leads as well as other tertiary characters like Mr. Poopy Butthole.

The sci-fi elements of the show lead the characters to other planets and dimensions, where they often encounter alternate versions of themselves. This gives the animators and the actors a chance to create distinct versions of the same character. For Sarah Chalke, this presented an exciting but challenging opportunity to get to know a new side of her character, Beth.

The fourth season of "Rick and Morty" reveals that Beth actually has a clone that has been traveling through space and time. In fact, this second Beth — dubbed Space Beth for clarity — may even be the original Beth, but Rick decides it's best for both of them to believe that they are the genetic template or Beth Prime.

Fans had seen countless versions of Rick and Morty at the Citadel of Ricks, but the Beth we had come to know and love wasn't as well-versed in space travel. We do see one alternate version of her in the season 2 episode "Big Trouble in Little Sanchez," when she and Jerry travel off-planet to attend couple's therapy and Jerry's demonic mental image of Beth is brought to life, but the most recent season finally gave an alternate Beth a real chance to shine. Space Beth returns to the Smith residence and things quickly get complicated between the two genetic copies.

The two Beths had to be unique, but not too unique

Getting to explore a different version of her character is what attracted Chalke to "Rick and Morty" from the very beginning. "One of the funnest parts about working on the show is you get to have your character in a different dimension," she told Review Nation back in 2017. "Like when she goes off-planet for couples therapy and it's how Jerry sees her, or a Cronenberg version, drunken Beth — there's opportunities to really stretch. You get to go in and have fun with different aspects of the character in that way."

Chalke never anticipated that she would get to play a clone version of Beth, but she welcomed the new character with open arms. In a recent interview with /Film's Michael Boyle, Chalke said, "Space Beth was obviously something I had never expected to be coming into the show and that I was going to get to do. And then at the beginning, I didn't know if it was just going to be that one time. And then it was cool that they continued with her."

Space Beth gave a fun new dimension to Chalke's work, but it was not without its difficulties. "I feel like the challenge for me was trying to find a way to make them feel grounded and the same person, but also feel very unique and separate from each other. They have such different personalities and such different ways of being," the actress explained. Luckily, she soon discovered some key differences between the two Beths that helped guide her performance.

Space Beth is raspier and more confident

Finding the difference between Space Beth and Domestic Beth in "Rick and Morty" was no easy feat for Chalke, but she managed to distinguish them in a few ways. The first point of distinction was their voice. "We'll record Domestic Beth and Space Beth completely separately, all from one part of the episode and all from the other," she said. "I'll always do Space Beth second, I'll throw some throat clears in between to try and make her a little raspier."

The biggest contrast between Space Beth and Domestic Beth, Chalke found, was their confidence. She cites, for example, Domestic Beth's embarrassment when she approaches her father about forgetting the ice cream in "Bethic Twinstinct," the third episode of season 6. "[T]hat's just never a way that Space Beth would speak or behave," Chalke explained. "Space Beth is so confident, and she's so sure of herself, and she's so cool."

Going from playing an insecure character to a more confident one even encourages Chalke to make physical changes as she plays the two characters, despite the fact that she is not being filmed. "I feel like you hold yourself differently when you're recording, and your posture's a little bit different," she admitted.

Playing a clone walks a fine line of character distinction — you want the characters to "feel unique, but [like] the same person," as Chalke puts it. It's a difficult task, but Chalke tackles it like a pro. Space Beth is a fun new character that not only demonstrates the actress' immense talent and range but also tells us even more about who the original Beth is. As they interact and begin to rub off on one another, the distinctions between them become even more challenging and exciting to identify for Chalke and viewers alike.