Interview: Matt Pascua on ‘Walker’ – Ben’s Relationships with Liam and Cassie, Jared Padalecki’s Leadership, and More

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The CW’s Walker is heading into its final few episodes of the series, and I got the chance to talk to Matt Pascua, who plays Ben Perez, all about his character and the latest season. Pascua talked about Ben’s relationship with Liam (Keegan Allen), his relationship with his on-screen sister Cassie (Ashley Reyes), Jared Padalecki’s leadership, and more.

Editor’s note: this interview was edited for length and clarity.

Nerds & Beyond: Can you talk about your journey onto the show — what your audition was like, and if you had to read with anyone (Keegan, Ashley)?

Matt Pascua: I did not read with either of them, but I think that’s often fairly common. Maybe if it’s a newer show early on in production, that’s something that can happen, but especially today since COVID with how proliferated self-taping is in terms of auditions, I did not. It was great fun, at least for me on my end, coming in toward the end of the second season in that episode, to find some… as an actor, find some good chemistry with Ashley and then chemistry with Keegan.

Nerds & Beyond: We see in a recent episode that Ben is giving up his current job to work on the event business with Abeline and to also support Liam. How do you feel about Ben’s choice?

Matt: I love this choice just because something I really love about the character is that Ben lives and leads with such an open heart. And I think we saw that even just with rebuilding his relationship with Cassie on both ends for the two of them. I think it’s the two of them obviously collaborating in a very healthy way as partners. I think Ben has been a very positive force and also sees that Liam is worth all compromises otherwise. So I think it’s an appropriate move and an exciting one and to work with Abby, I mean, who wouldn’t want to work with Abby or Molly [Hagan] in any regard?

Nerds & Beyond: What do you love most about Ben and Liam’s relationship and working with Keegan?

Matt: It’s just been the greatest working experience for me to play opposite, and with Keegan. I mean, I’ve been talking about Ben having an open heart and leading and living like that, but that’s Keegan, his life. It’s just been such a treat. Quite honestly, whenever you’re building a romance for TV, film, theater, or any sort of story, it can be really intimidating and challenging. You never really know who you’re going to be paired with. And even when you do know, like even being good friends, that can make things a little bit challenging but this has just been such a delight because I think that our instincts are very similar and we’re both very protective of one another, and then also very protective of the characters, and their relationship.

I think they’ve gone through really dark and challenging moments in their lives. And I think that’s something that writers have done a really great job with and something that I know Keegan has been very wonderfully protective of as well, making sure that Ben and Liam move maturely and authentically with one another versus getting into any tropes of gay relationships or just frivolous relationships across the spectrum.

Rebecca Brenneman/The CW

Nerds & Beyond: I also really love the scenes between Ben and Cassie, and we saw some great ones in last week’s episode. What’s your favorite part about their relationship and working with Ashley?

Matt: Well, firstly, Ashley’s just fucking fantastic. As a person, and as an artist, I feel like I learned so much from her on both ends. Working together, it’s been so much fun and building this relationship just because I feel like it’s a very real sibling dynamic that Cassie and Ben created. When we first see the two of them, or when we first meet Ben, it’s pretty charged, and it takes them some time to rebuild. But, I loved the way that its depicted siblings because I think that the range that you exist in with your siblings is quite dynamic. It’s quite dramatic. And I love that they’ve really grown to support and look out for one another and are each other’s rocks in Austin.

Nerds & Beyond: What can we look forward to with Ben and the rest of the episodes?

Matt: I can’t say too much. And especially now, I feel like we all have to stay tuned in and really savor what’s left. But I think there are some good exciting turns ahead.

Nerds & Beyond: We often hear that the Walker set was called “Disneyland”. What was it like coming onto the show and the atmosphere surrounding the set?

Matt: I didn’t know that people call it that, but I love that because it’s so accurate in the sense that it’s just so warm and welcoming, and you feel safe and protected and it’s easy to work. I think it’s always an interesting environment because there’s such an established sort of process … it can be intimidating, I guess you could say, coming into a show and that was not the case here with Walker. Everyone is so finessed and talented with what they do, and everything runs so smoothly. Even through shooting these last few episodes, I am constantly in awe of how streamlined and how efficient and how respectful everybody is. And that goes for the work, and the process of putting a TV show together and how many people are involved, but it also goes for how people look at everybody in their lives outside of work. Just really living with balance, which can be rare in film and television.

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

Matt: What’s so special about Walker… it is such a dream as an actor… but anyone in storytelling where there are just a lot of characters. It’s such a treat whenever we do dinner scenes or the party scenes and I feel so grateful that Ben has been included in all that because it’s just such fun and it’s a rare opportunity that different threads cross. I feel those are the only moments I’ve really worked with Coby [Bell], and Coby is just hilarious and so much fun and also a fantastic actor to watch. I don’t know how, but I wish that there were more opportunities beyond just the family gatherings.

Rebecca Brenneman/The CW

Nerds & Beyond: What has been one of your favorite moments on set?

Matt: I love the double date scene, I thought that was just great fun. And when I read that I was like, “This is gonna be such a blast.” And of course, working with Justin [Johnson Cortez], Ashley and Keegan is just a treat.

I think one of the most special moments just in my career as an actor, was coming back to set in December after the strike had been lifted. We were so spoiled, those of us who had work to go back to, it was such a blessing. Walker got back into things as a production pretty early. I want to say that maybe a month after the strike was lifted and all that paperwork had sort of been processed and things were okay to go, we jumped right in. Day one was a dinner scene or party scene with everybody and Jared [Padalecki], who is the ultimate leader, opens with this beautiful speech bringing everyone back together. And then, also acknowledging I think for all of us, like our excitement but also our nerves and feeling a little out of it just because it had been some time and there was so much unknown. But that was just such a really gorgeous way to kind of ease back into the work and be with everybody and kind of go through that together. That was really, really special.

Nerds & Beyond: We unfortunately got the news last week that The CW had canceled Walker. Did you have a message for the fans as we go into the last few episodes?

Matt: A deep gratitude and an endless thank you for the support. I feel so touched by just being welcomed onto the show and being able to be a part of this TV family and then this cast and crew… this show. One of the best parts of it are fans. I feel like I do my best to stay present and interact with everybody and the support is just unreal. It’s so authentic, which is rare and special and unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before in terms of the work that I’ve done, so I’m grateful to have been welcomed into this Walker family by the fans. I think everyone’s really come out with such wonderful, kind words over these past couple of days as I know we’re all healing from this development together.

Nerds & Beyond: Again, I’m so sorry! We’re going to do the best we can to have fun through the rest of the season and cheer you all on.

Matt: Thank you, and Briar, thank you so much for thinking of me and reaching out. This was such a delight and you are part of the Walker family, you’ve been so incredibly supportive and loving, and as I said in my last answer, it’s just so touching and it means so much to me. So, thank you.

Walker is currently airing its fourth and final season. You can watch new episodes until the series finale on June 26, every Wednesday night on The CW.

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, Star Wars, Supernatural and anything tech related. You can follow her @thebriarroseee.

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