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Walker Independence's Justin Johnson Cortez On Boxing With Katherine McNamara On Set - Exclusive

When it comes to choosing a boxing partner, most people would kill to duke it out with Kat McNamara. Justin Johnson Cortez has that honor on the "Walker" prequel, "Walker Independence." Cortez's character, Calian, is the first person to befriend McNamara's Abby at the start of the series, and they've kept up that close bond ever since — both on and off the screen.

The midseason finale of "Walker Independence" left off with a significant Calian-centric episode that contained a hefty amount of heartbreaking backstory and a glimpse at the horrors of the time period for Native populations. It's refreshing to see a series tackle the unsavory aspects of Western history rather than creating a false narrative that glosses over the reality of the period and the travesties that followed.

Looper spoke to Cortez during an exclusive interview, where he gushed about working with McNamara. Cortez also mentioned the duo's boxing shenanigans and goofing around with her on set. 

There aren't enough positive adjectives for McNamara

There's no denying that Calian and Abby have a wonderful dynamic. When we asked him what it's been like working with Kat McNamara and if he has any fun stories with her from the set, Justin Johnson Cortez had trouble picking just one moment. He explained, "This is so funny because we're constantly laughing on set all the time, but when people are like, 'Do you have a great story?' I'm like, 'I don't know if I have a specific story.'"

Just ask any of McNamara's co-stars what it's like working with the actress, and they'll hit you with a dozen positive adjectives to describe their welcoming and warm co-star. "She's so lovely. She's so great to work with. She's such a professional," Cortez added. "Coming into this, I remember being nervous to meet her because you never know how people are going to be when you meet them. She's honestly one of the kindest people I've ever met."

Boxing with the best

Some of their on-screen vibes have bled into their real-life friendship as well. Justin Johnson Cortez noted, "The dynamic with us makes sense. Since I met her, I [have felt] protective over her in a way. Not that I need to be, because she's fully capable as a person — I've boxed with her, we hit mitts and stuff, and she [can] throw a punch. But I've always felt protective over her in a way."

There's nothing better than having complete trust in your scene partner. "We feel safe together, and that's really nice when you get to work with someone and that part of it comes easy and the chemistry's there. But I'm confident that anybody could have that chemistry with her," Cortez said. "I'm trying to think of any funny stories — I don't know, probably something to do with a horse and riding. We're constantly laughing, all of us, on set, and it's probably because I'm being a goofball or somebody else is doing something silly. It's been lovely. We're going to miss it while we take a break after Season 1, for sure." Here's to hoping we have plenty more seasons featuring this dynamic duo.

New episodes of "Walker Independence" air Thursdays on The CW.