Interview: Ashley Reyes Talks Joining ‘Walker’, Working with Jared Padalecki, and More [EXCLUSIVE]

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Rebecca Brenneman/The CW

Last week, we shared the news that Ashley Reyes would be joining The CW’s Walker as a series regular, joining Jared Padalecki’s Cordell as his partner. We got the chance to talk to Reyes, who told us how she got involved with the show, working with Padalecki, her favorite part about her character, Cassie, and more.

Nerds and Beyond: First off, I want to say congratulations on joining Walker. Can you talk to us a bit about the process of joining the show and what your first day on set was like?

Ashley: I did a self-tape back when I was living in New York. I actually got an email from my manager asking if I would be interested because they had been seeing women for a long time and they weren’t finding someone who’s quite right for the role. And they actually weren’t sure if I would be, because of my height. Because as I think everybody can see at this point, I’m quite small. I couldn’t initially get an audition for the show because they thought I’d be too petite. I read the sides that they were sending over for the role, and I really liked it. I thought that it was an exciting part. She’s funny and funky. And I was like, ‘Oh, I know exactly how to read this.’ So I did my initial self-tape. And I got an email a few days later saying, ‘Ashley, can you not read it off the paper? They actually are interested in you.’ And I did another tape, [like] ‘Wow, they’re actually serious about this.’ And then I had a director session with Robin and Anna, who were both the nicest people on earth and we had a great time. Then I had a chemistry read with Jared, about a week later. At the time, I thought it was for a two-episode character. I was like, ‘Holy crap, I get to meet Jared Padalecki for a two-episode guest star, this is insane. And I really hope I get this, I feel weirdly attached to these people.’ And a week went by and they told me my tape that I [had] done with Jared was going to the studio, and then the network, like ‘Holy crap, it’s happening.’ I got the call when I was at dinner with a friend and still thought it was for a two-episode guest star and then Jared FaceTimed me and said, ‘Welcome to the family and to the next hopefully few years of your life.’ And I realized that I was in for a lot more than I expected and I couldn’t be happier to be on it. My first day was amazing. Everybody was so kind and we were doing the scene where see Walker and Captain James are in the office talking and working with Coby and Jared, it is like working with two children in kindergarten. It’s so much [fun], they just laughed the whole time and it made me feel really at ease.

Nerds and Beyond: In the episode that airs this week, we’re introduced to your character, Cassie, in a really kind of badass way. She tases and then subsequently kidnaps Cordell thinking he’s an imposter. There are also some pretty cool driving stunts. So can you talk more about that scene and you know how much fun it must have been to film it?

Ashley: Yeah, I mean, tasing Jared and putting him in the car is something that I never thought I’d get to do in my life. But it was hilarious and he’s an absolute house of a man, he’s 6’5, giant, and putting him into the trunk, I thought would be very difficult but he kind of folded like origami, [he] went right down. The driving stuff, I don’t drive in my personal life. So it looks really cool, really fast and dangerous. We were on the back of the trailer and this beautiful car was being pulled at 15 miles per hour. I have no idea what I’m doing with my hands. But they made it look like I’m the best driver of all time.

Rebecca Brenneman/The CW

Nerds and Beyond: We learn that Cassie is a Ranger on a leave of absence, who’s looking for her partner who went missing. She then becomes Cordell’s partner at the end of the episode. Do you think the story of her previous partner missing is going to play a big part in a lot of the rest of the season?

Ashley: Yeah, I’d say like a driving force, really, for coming back to the Rangers. And she has such an emotional connection to her previous partner. Her diligence is one of her best qualities, and so she’s not going to give up until this case is solved.

Nerds and Beyond: What I loved most about Cassie was her quick wit and how she really went toe to toe with Cordell almost immediately. What do you love most about her? Are there any similarities between you and Cassie?

Ashley: Well, she’s much quicker than I am, it’s one of my favorite qualities about her and I think something that I’m learning from her is her strength and her ability to say whatever she’s thinking, no matter who she’s talking to. It doesn’t matter whether it’s Captain James or someone who she met on the street. She’s going to treat everyone equally.

Nerds and Beyond: At the end of the episode we get to see Cordell and Cassie bond a bit after the events of everything that happened. What can we expect from their partnership or what’s your favorite thing about their relationship so far?

Ashley: They’re such a good balance for each other. She is a wildcard. She’s excited and ambitious, and she goes rogue just like he does. And they’re able to rein each other in or bring that wildness out of each other at all the right moments, or maybe sometimes [in] the later episodes, the wrong moments.

Nerds and Beyond: I think when I was watching it I felt like Cassie reminded me of very early Cordell, like the one that we saw in season one. Just kind of his ability to throw caution to the wind and jump in, so I think it’s gonna be really fun watching you guys together.

Ashley: Yeah, exactly. That’s exactly what she is. She’s kind of a previous version of Walker who he now has to rein in.

Nerds and Beyond: What has been your favorite thing about working on the show so far?

Ashley: It has been the most wonderful cast and crew of people. Everyone in front of the camera, behind the camera. I’ve never worked with such a kind and generous group of people. It feels like family every day I go to work, and I feel so lucky to be a part of it.

Walker airs Thursday nights on The CW at 8/7c.

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