Actress Natalie Morales declared her voice character Betty in Paramount + reboot Rugrats series will be an openly gay woman.
Morales made the revelation in a statement to AV Club. The character is the mother of two, Phil and Lil, and has been married to Howard in previous versions.
Morales said in her statement that she believed “Anyone who watched the original show may have had an idea of Betty was a member of the Alphabet Mafia.”
She added, “Betty is a single mom with her own business who has twins and still has time to hang out with her friends and her community, and I think it’s so great because of the examples of living your happy and healthy life as a homosexual person is just such a beacon for queer kids who may not have examples of this.
Morales said that “cartoons were extremely influential for me as a child, and if I had watched Rugrats and I saw Betty casually talking about her ex-girlfriend, I think at least part of me would have felt like things might be okay in the future.
Nicole Byer, Tony Hale and Morales are among the vocal talents selected for the adult roles of Paramount + Rugrats rebirth of the series. Hale will play Chuckie’s father and Byer, along with Omar Miller, will be Susie’s parents.
Ashley Rae Spillers (Deputy Directors) and Tommy Dewey, as Tommy’s parents; Anna Chlumsky and Timothy Simons, as parents of Angelica; and Michael McKean, as grandfather Lou Pickles. The reinvention is expected to debut on Paramount + this spring. The announcement was made in conjunction with Nickelodeon’s initial virtual showcase.
Using their original Rugrats the roles are EG Daily (Tommy), Nancy Cartwright (Chuckie), Cheryl Chase (Angelica), Cree Summer (Susie) and Kath Soucie (Phil and Lil).
In an interview with Deadline, Nickelodeon chairman Brian Robbins addressed the decision to keep the original main cast voicing children, but bring in new actors for the adult roles.
“First of all, we have all the original babies, all the original casts, which we’re so excited to have,” Robbins said. “Some of the original cast – remember the show is 20-25+ years old, and we thought there was an opportunity for some exciting new comedic voices who grew up watching and being fans of the show and by letting them make cameos. So we are really excited about our adult casting The Rugrats.“
The original Rugrats series premiered 30 years ago, in August 1991, and some of the actors who played adult characters are no longer alive. The original became a revolutionary phenomenon, spawning consumer products and three blockbuster theatrical releases, solidifying its place in pop culture history through its iconic characters, storytelling, and unique visual style. Rugrats was in production for nine seasons over a 13-year period. The series won four Daytime Emmy Awards, six Children’s Choice Award and his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
The brand new Rugrats is based on the series created by Arlene Klasky, Gabor Csupo and Paul Germain. Eryk Casemiro and Kate Boutilier are executive producers and Dave Pressler and Casey Leonard are co-executive producers, with Rachel Lipman as co-producer and Kellie Smith as executive producer. Production is overseen by Mollie Freilich, Senior Manager, Current Series Animation, Nickelodeon.
Alexandra Del Rosario and Nellie Andreeva contributed to this report.