Credit: Skip Bolen/TNT

For over a season, Judy Reyes has played an almost silent character on TNT’s hit drama Claws, but on Sunday’s episode audiences were treated to her character’s unfiltered inner dialogue and were provided surprising insights into her shocking backstory.

Here, Reyes, 50, speaks with people about filming the intense episode, how she found Quiet Ann’s voice, and what to expect from the rest of season 2.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: When did you first find out they wanted to do an episode centered on Quiet Ann?
JUDY REYES: Once the [first] season ended, we started to hear a lot from TNT that they wanted to know more about Quiet Ann. And the writers actually had already discussed going into the mind of Quiet Ann. We figured the way they ended last season with her major heartbreak, that was the way to start to explore her.

Where did the idea of the voiceovers come from?
You know, the character’s name is Quiet Ann, they wanted to make an effort to get to know her without forcing the identity of the character. They had to figure out how to hear and know Quiet Ann more without making her talk too much.

Did you record the scenes first or the voiceovers?
I recorded [my version of the voiceovers] later. But they were in the script, so we had someone read it as I acted the scenes. It was tricky and challenging because you want to hear how you would say it as you performed it, but you can’t act how you’re going to say it. Your performance has to be different than what you’re saying it in your head. It was a lot of homework involved. The performance is constantly changing, and there was an extraordinary amount of questions for me in terms of, “What’s my attitude while I’m doing this?” Because there’s so much deadpan about Ann as it is, and the company that she keeps with her friends. It’s even hard for me to describe.

She’s dealing with a lot.
There’s a lot of things that are mounting with her in this episode. Things are just really piling up, so she’s trying to keep it together, keep it together, keep it together…until she just blows up. The writers did a great job of piling it on, and when her family just shows up out of nowhere, it’s like, f— me. You know what I mean?

As the writers started crafting her backstory, did it all make sense to you? Any big surprises?
I think that she had a gay brother definitely makes sense, and that she had a male sibling. Also that she is Cuban. I’m not Cuban, but yeah, Cuban, that makes sense for Ann. She has a gay brother who is much more successful and appreciated than she is. I was like, “That really works. That’s great. I love that.” Especially in Miami. But that her parents are gay was a wonderful, wonderful comedic…very Claws-ian. I was like, “Oh, I love this. This is absolutely f—ing nuts.” Oh, and she had a kid that she gave up? And she’s an academic? She speaks five languages? All these incredibly delicious things that can contribute to whatever future revelations.

It was interesting to see how much Ann resents Desna [Niecy Nash].
Why is she working at a salon? Because she’s an ex-con, and who’s going to hire a female ex-con anywhere? And that’s why she owes this incredible debt to Desna, who she does resent so profoundly. But Desna rescued her, or was there for her at a time when no one was, and they absolutely have something in common. I guess they rescued each other, and they absolutely need each other. But it is a soldier-boss thing where I think Ann feels like she has more to be appreciative for, and more to contribute than Desna has allowed, or will allow, and she’s demanding to be seen more.

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You’ve said that, at first, you had a hard time envisioning yourself as Quiet Ann. How did you eventually embrace the character and her silence?
I felt really free not doing hair the way I always do; not wearing a stitch of makeup; not wearing push-up bras or Spanx or heels. Having created this whole new, fantastic character, and saying so little, and just being in the present, but being a true, true person… It made me feel completely alive, if that makes any sense — and safe.

What can you tell us about what’s next for Quiet Ann? Will we be hearing a lot more from her?
She’s pursuing her relationship with Arlene, and dealing with the Vlada situation. We’ll see how it evolves in the madness and mayhem that is the world of Claws. I think that’s all I’m allowed to give you.

Will we be hearing a lot more from her? Is it safe to say she’s Not-As-Quiet Ann now?
The genie is out of the bottle and she can’t be put back in, but I don’t think it’s that much to make it like, “She’s got to change her name now.” But she does grow and talk more. You’re going to see a lot more of the other women experience growth and change — and a lot more madness, and a lot more of those Claws-ian moments, as we like to call them. It’s just as crazy as ever. Even more so.

Claws season 2 airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on TNT.

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