Interview: Ashley Reyes Talks ‘Walker’ – Cassie’s Journey, Working with Jared Padalecki, Saying an Iconic Line, and More

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Joining the cast of Walker in the second season, Ashley Reyes has captured Walker fans’ hearts as the lovable badass Cassie Perez. Throughout the seasons, we’ve watched how Cassie — and Ashley — have rightfully come into their own on the show, and have become an invaluable part of the Walker family.

This season, we saw Cassie return from a stint with the FBI, choosing to stay put in Austin with the Rangers and now working on a serial killer case with Detective David Luna (Justin Johnson Cortez).

We got the chance to talk to Ashley about this season, Cassie’s journey, working with Justin, and Jared Padalecki, saying an iconic series line, Hawk’s Shadow, and more.

Nerds & Beyond: I wanted to start by talking about last season. Cassie had a pretty rough season with everything that happened with Kevin, and then she left to go to the FBI. In this season’s premiere, she was weighing her options on what to do but ultimately ended up staying with the Rangers. Do you think that was always going to be her decision?

Ashley Reyes: I don’t think that was always her decision. I think the FBI offered a current opportunity to really flex her skills. And when she first came back to the Rangers in season two, she kind of said, “I’m going to do this on my own terms. I’ll come back to the Rangers if I can make my own rules.” And I think as she progressed within the unit, she realized that she can do more and she’s capable of a lot more and I think with everything that happened with Kevin, she just wanted to get away and she was ready to start over again. She knows she’s a badass and she wanted to use her skills and not look at anyone who was involved in that whole thing. So, I don’t think it was part of the plan to come back. But, I think once she has to in that first episode, she realizes that’s home. That’s her family.

Nerds & Beyond: In last week’s episode, we see you team up with Detective Luna, played by Justin Johnson Cortez, who we love. What was it like working with him?

Ashley: He is wonderful to work with. He’s the nicest man on earth. I think for everybody who loves him, you’ll be very happy to hear that he is very, very, sweet and kind and I felt for him because his first day was a big day. It was the whole motel sequence … and this big scene with the two of us kind of establishing our characters but I mean, he crushed it and came in, and he was prepared. We had a lot of fun. And I think it comes out really fun and I’m excited for the fans to see where it goes because it’s a roller coaster.

Rebecca Brenneman/The CW

Nerds & Beyond: Speaking of the motel sequence, you both had a pretty intense fight scene. Did you have stunt doubles and time to rehearse that? What was that process like?

Ashley: So, we have our stunt doubles, who are amazing. My stunt double, Kimmy, is one of the best people on Earth. But, we don’t really rehearse beforehand. So, we get to set and they show us what we’re supposed to be doing… and I love doing stunts, I try to do as many of the stunts they will let me do myself.

Sometimes, they don’t let me do things that they think I’m going to get hurt [on]. I don’t know if you remember the slide under the wine vault? I wasn’t allowed to do that myself, because I was in heels and they were like, “You will kill yourself.” But, I prefer to do all my own stuff.

So we get there, they show us how to do it, show us what it’s going to look like, and they kind of gauge whether or not I feel comfortable doing it all myself in that hotel scene. I knew I wanted to do it. I was really excited about the kick with the two guys … I knew I wanted to do it. It took me probably about half an hour to get it down. We just run it and run it and run it and the other stuntmen who come in were wonderful and patient. They understand that we’re primarily actors and not stunt actors, but it was really fun. I love doing it.

Nerds & Beyond: In the first episode this season, I loved that you got to say, “Perez, Texas Rangers”. I feel like that’s such an iconic line within the series and it’s mostly tied to Cordell, but I was really excited to hear you say it. What was it like for you to get to say that line?

Ashley: That was so cool. I’m gonna get a little choked up. It was a big moment for me. I think coming onto the show halfway through the second season, I felt like I had to earn my place. Not that I think anybody else really felt that way, but I had a lot to live up to, and so getting to do that scene kind of solidified not only for Cassie, but for me, my place here and my role here, and my Mom was on set that day, so it was really special. I was so nervous. The first time I had to do the take of it, I went to go do it, And I said, “Perez, Texas Rangers, you’re under duress,” … “That’s not it,” I looked back at the guys and they were cracking up [laughs]. And so it became a running joke where, “You’re under duress,” “You’re underdressed…” [laughs] So, it was a really cool moment for me.

Nerds & Beyond: I just have to say, I love all of the Hawk’s Shadow jokes that are woven in. I feel like it started as a one-off thing but has carried through the series now.

Ashley: It’s so much fun. I thought in my first season when I was doing the Hawk’s Shadow, the “ca-caw”, I was like this is never gonna make it into the cut, because this is so bizarre and so out there, especially for the show [laughs]. I’m making this a thing and if it makes it well, we’ll see and now that it’s become kind of iconic part of the show is hysterical to me. I have people “ca-cawing” at me. The onset swag now says Hawk’s Shadow or “ca-caw”. It’s so funny, I did not expect that at all.

Nerds & Beyond: I know you can’t say much because of spoilers, but what are you most excited about with Cassie’s arc this season?

Ashley: We get to see all of the sides of Cassie and I’m really excited for the viewers to see not just a really efficient, capable Ranger, but, a really well-rounded person and someone who is flawed but sensitive and just a wonderful person. I think I might be biased, but I think she’s got so many wonderful qualities and we get to see every single side of her, and hopefully, by the end of the season, everybody will kind of come to Cassie as like their little survivor.

Nerds & Beyond: I don’t know if that should make me say “aw” or be nervous [laughs].

Ashley: [laughs] I’m trying to be so careful with my words!

Nerds & Beyond: I’ve always loved Cassie and Cordell’s partnership; from the first time we met you tossing him in the trunk, to where they are now. What’s your favorite part of their friendship and working with Jared Padalecki?

Ashley: I think our on-screen partnership mirrors our friendship a lot off-screen. We’re very close, and he’s kind of become a big brother to me. On-screen, it’s really fun doing scenes together because our relationship really gets to play out and I think our feelings about each other come out on-screen. I think all of our love, our frustrations, our everything, we kind of play with and we have the opportunity to just honestly do a scene with a really good friend and hang out, and I’ve learned so much from watching him. The man is the master of television. He knows exactly what he’s doing. I’m newer at all of this, and I’ve just been able to watch how he works and what he does, and I really admire his work ethic and it just mirrors the Cassie and Walker relationship to a tee.

Rebecca Brenneman/The CW

Nerds & Beyond: Cassie said she wanted to change things and do big things. She has so many incredible accomplishments already, but what’s your hope for Cassie in the future?

Ashley: Cassie is someone who lives by her own rules. She wants to live her life, according to Cassie Perez, and not according to anyone else. And as a woman, I think that’s really special and admirable and I hope that she continues to grow on that path. She makes everyone around her work harder, and I think she’s a natural leader and she doesn’t give herself enough credit. I hope in the future, she’s able to flourish in her own ways, take a leadership role, and take charge of the people around her because she’s capable. More than capable.

Nerds & Beyond: Is there anyone that you wish you could have more scenes with?

Ashley: Nothing against the Rangers because they’re my favorite people in the world, but I would love to have more scenes with Mitch [Pileggi] and Molly [Hagan] because I love them to death. Also, my boyfriend [Richard Ellis] is on the show as well. I wish we had some sort of interaction, he plays Witt, and I think he’s excellent.

Nerds & Beyond: We’re glad he’s back and Witt’s not dead!

Ashley: He’s not dead. We’re so lucky to have him, he is an excellent actor. He’s worked so well with Violet [Brinson], Saylor [Bell Curda], and Kale [Culley] that I think that the viewers are gonna love that storyline. It’s so much fun. I’m very excited for that. I’m excited as a viewer to watch.

Nerds & Beyond: It doesn’t have to be from this season, but what has been the most fun scene to film, or the most difficult one?

Ashley: This is really hard without spoilers [laughs]. There are two episodes this season that were incredibly challenging for me. And, also, the most rewarding scenes I’ve ever had to do in my career. Everybody was so respectful of the things that I had to do in these episodes. I was so lucky that it was written, this part, and that Anna [Fricke] gave me the opportunity to do it and I hope I did it justice. But, it required me to go to a place that I’ve never had to go before, to use some acting skills and muscles that I’ve never had to use and it was a great time. I had a lot of fun and it was really hard. It was so incredibly hard.

Nerds & Beyond: Now I’m scared again. [laughs]

Ashley: I’m trying so hard not to give anything away, but so, so much for Cassie happens in the next half of the season. It becomes just a whole world of … it’s a mess … I think we see Cassie grow up coming into the Rangers as a kid, and she is leaving this season as a woman.

Nerds & Beyond: What’s your favorite line that Cassie has said — aside from the Texas Rangers line — or your favorite story arc?

Ashley: So many good ones. I don’t know if this counts, But the Trey/Cassie friendship is possibly my favorite thing about this show to do, because Jeff and I have such a good time working together and we work so well off of each other.

Also, there was this one scene with Keegan this season, the scene where we’re unboxing all of my stuff from the storage unit, Keegan found this hand that is like this weird, wooden, mechanical hand and it’s in the episode quite a bit. It weirdly comes back, and I think one of my favorite things is that this hand has just become a recurring character. So yeah, I know that’s not a line, but the hand sticks out to me.

Rebecca Brenneman/The CW

Nerds & Beyond: As the last question, was there a specific moment or a scene that made you fall in love with Cassie as a character?

Ashley: I mean, from day one, I loved her. I loved her first episode. I thought it was so much fun. It’s funny, it’s not even in the show — we had these two dummy sides for scenes when I auditioned. And I chem read with Jared, I did a chemistry read, and there we did the first scene, and I talk fast and I’m quippy, and then the second scene, we’re wrapping up the HQ for the day, and he’s leaving. And, there’s just this really sweet moment between the two of them where you can tell that she cares so deeply about him and people in general. And that scene to me was like, “I know who this woman is. She’s funny and she’s quippy and she is the fast-talking gun-slinging girl, but she is so full of heart.” And I think I used those two scenes to build this entire woman and every scene that I do, I try to incorporate both sides of her. Whether it’s the funny part of her or it’s the part that is deeply caring.

Nerds & Beyond: We definitely see that and I think that’s why the audience loves her and you so much.

Ashley: I love her so much, and I love this show so much, I could talk about it all day long. I hope we get to do it for a long time because I love doing it so much.

Nerds & Beyond: We hope so too, we’re fighting for you all, too.

Ashley: Thank you, I know, you’re like the warrior. I know we really appreciate it.

Walker airs Wednesday nights on The CW at 8/7c. Seasons 1-3 are available on MAX, and you can catch up on the current season with new episodes the next day on The CW App for free.

Briar
Briar
Briar is the Editor-in-Chief of Nerds and Beyond. She has been running the site since 2015 with the goal of being a unique, professional news site dedicated to all the things she loved - and providing fans with the best content available. Briar oversees the day-to-day operations and runs all of the social media. She loves all things Disney & Walker. You can follow her @thebriarroseee.

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