‘The Flash’: Carlos Valdes on the ‘Most Challenging Part’ of Losing [Spoiler]
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for The Flash Season 6 Episode 5, “Kiss Kiss Breach Breach.”]
The Flash went once more into the Breacher (get it?) this week with another visit from Danny Trejo’s multiverse bounty hunter. Only this time, the gruff leader of The Collectors wasn’t showing up to get his hands on anyone.
Instead, Breacher time-jumped into Cisco’s (Carlos Valdes) bedroom to break the tragic news that his daughter Gypsy — a.k.a. Cisco’s ex — had been murdered on Earth-19. By the end of the hour’s excursion to that alternate universe, we had come face-to-face (to face?) with the Cisco lookalike named Echo, found even more reasons to adore his delightful new girlfriend Kamilla (Victoria Park), and become convinced that Cisco is ready to lead Team Flash should Barry (Grant Gustin) actually suffer the fate seemingly set in stone by the oncoming Crisis.
Here, Valdes talks about his character’s evolution, the loss of Gypsy and sends a special shout-out to the two men who brought the episode’s Cisco-est fight sequence to life. Oh, and yeah, of course we had to ask about the crossover, because this thing is gonna be huge!
OK, so filming has wrapped on Crisis, I believe?
Carlos Valdes: You believe correctly. Yes. The Crisis, I think, is officially over. You know, you always have to sort of hold your breath because there’s always bound to be a reshoot or two…or 25. [Laughs]
Well having been part of these crossovers for so long now, how crazy was it this time?
Oh man, just when you think it’s been insane enough, just reflecting on previous crossovers and how much money and time and effort it took to make those, this one…I just don’t know. I don’t know what’s gotten into these people at Warner Brothers. [Laughs] I don’t know if they’ve like joined the cult now, maybe DC Comics is part of that. Maybe DC is the cult for building this wild, wild country of Arrowverse shows. But yeah, they have really, really embraced the glory of giving even more. This crossover is even bigger than all the past ones combined. You know, there’s surprises upon surprises and special effects and action sequences, but I think what will have the biggest impact, honestly, is the storyline because you have to contend with Arrow coming off the air. So this is definitely sort of a way to honor that.
This week’s episode is pretty huge for you, as well.
Yeah, it’s pretty big. I mean, it’s actually not that big. I’m in pretty much the same amount of scenes as I normally am.
Except there’s more than one of you in some of those scenes.
[Laughs] Well, that’s right. There’s more than one of me. Right!
How did you feel about the decision to kill off Gypsy?
You know, sometimes decisions have to be made that are way beyond my pay grade. If I could, I would have kept Gypsy alive because I think that character is so badass and so awesome. And I know we have awesome females on our show all the time, but at the same time, I don’t think that we have enough, you know? So I would keep her alive if I could. Still, I think the way they handled it, how the writers have chosen to handle Gypsy’s demise, is very poetic and very appropriate because she deserves all of the ceremony and more.
Does this mean the end of you working with Danny Trejo, though?
Maybe not. You never know in this show. Anything could happen. As much as we’re saying that Gypsy’s gone, you know, she could come back as a some zombie…
True. Nobody’s ever dead in a multiverse.
Exactly! You know what I’m talking about. [Laughs]
For the Echo character, how far in advance did you know you were going to play this guy and really start to work on how different he would be?
So it’s interesting you mentioned that.[Laughs] I had gotten like a couple of hints ahead of time that I was going to be able to play a different version of Cisco. And you know, I love that s**t. I always love being able to play variations on this character that I’ve spent over five years working on. I got really excited about it, but I also know that anything can change at the last minute so I try not to set my expectations too high or predict the outcome. I waited until I got the script to start working on it. And it was actually very smart of me to not set my expectations too high before we started the episode because we completely changed the direction of this character and all of his lines [and] all of his intentions changed. So I was in a really good place because I hadn’t actually done a lot of work on the character because I had a feeling something like this would happen! [Laughs]
A lot of times, when people are playing new versions of their character, the biggest change is their hair change or something like that. There was definitely something really off with this guy, though, right?
Yeah. I think when you approach any character, you don’t want to approach them from a simplistic viewpoint of just some washed-out archetype. You want to give them life and giving them life is understanding that every character thinks of themselves as the hero of their own story. I think it’s so easy to fall into the trap of crafting a simplistic villain, especially when [you have] one or two scenes to demonstrate where they’re coming from. So I really tried hard to make sure that Echo wasn’t just some guy who was angry at the world.
This also gave us a fight sequence that you shared with yourself. And this was more of a bare-knuckle brawl rather than the usual superhero action sequence.
I gotta say, I have the best stunt doubles who just do the best work. It’s interesting, I used to have one stunt double who went through a major trauma in his life where he had to step away from the show to deal with it for a few years. When he was gone, he gained all this weight, [had to seek professional help] and it was this very, very tragic sort of downturn for him. And so this new guy took over to be my double who was amazing and he’s still my stunt double. But the one I used to have, well he bounced back and it’s one of those inspirational stories that you see movies about. He lost all the weight, he’s been going to the gym everyday trying to regain his abilities, and it’s really been an astounding thing to watch. And as part of this road to recovery, he got to step in and be the other Cisco double for this particular sequence. That was a really exciting thing for me.
That is so awesome. And when you’re shooting a scene that involves you and two other Ciscos, how much extra production time does that add to the schedule?
Well, unfortunately, time is money with TV. So sometimes there’s a whole sequence that you think you have mapped out for a luxurious six-hour period, then all of a sudden all your stunt work and all of your pivotal work for the scene has to be shot in like, an hour. So, you know, you just have to like be ready to go at any given time and that was the case with this particular scene. We had to get it all done in like an hour’s time because we were running out of time.
Of course! Now, the episode also featured a ton of emotional stuff for you, including some nice developments in his relationship with Kamilla (Victoria Park).
Yes, that is actually one of the most challenging parts to play in the episode because, on the one hand, I’m trying to grieve over my ex and I’m doing it with my current girlfriend.
And they handled beautifully because it also showed us a lot of stuff about Kamilla that shows that she’s perfect for him.
Right, exactly. And you know, Cisco has to contend with his own insecurities but Kamilla is just the f**king bomb. And she’s there to sort of help them through all this.
Given the troubling history Team Flash has had with relationships—we’ve buried so many of them—could we possibly one day see these to walk down the aisle?
Kamilla and Cisco? You know, it’s 2019. [Laughs] And one of the luxuries of living in this time is that we have the wherewithal to challenge these old institutions. And so, you know, who needs to be married? Marriage is a construct really, one that we’ve created for the last few hundred years to make ourselves feel safer about our sense of security and whatnot. So, you know, I’m not really even sure that marriage is the route anymore. [Laughs]
But you have to admit, TV and the fandoms love a wedding.
Can’t argue with that. Yes. That they do. I can’t argue with that. [Laughs]
So what’s in the cards for Cisco? As we move out of this situation, we see him claiming this new portion of himself by telling Kamilla he loves her. And knowing that he could be the one who ends up leading the team if Barry dies, what’s coming for him as we get closer to Crisis?
I think this episode is really well-timed in the arc of the season. Given that in the last episode Barry has charged Cisco with being the team leader, this sort of feels like an early test where Cisco has to muster all of his emotional strength to see this incredibly harrowing circumstance through to the end. And so the audience gets a chance how he reacts under pressure, which I think is really instrumental in terms of him doing the preliminary work so that he can prove his abilities. I this was good for him. Terrible for him, but good at the same time, you know? [Laughs]
Excellent. Well, I can’t wait to see how this all plays out. We talked at the end of last season where it looked like you were leaving the show…
I know! [Laughs]
So it’s cool to still have you around. Cisco kind of started out as a kid, even though he was an adult, but now, he’s really grown up very nicely.
Oh, thanks. I appreciate that! Yeah, that’s been an interesting part of all of this and that…well, yeah, that’s for another interview, another day. [Laughs]
The Flash, Tuesdays, 8/7c, The CW