Actor/Producer Don Wallace & Actress Daya Vaidya Discuss “Beyond The Badge” & Other Upcoming Projects
Photo Credit – Don Wallace
Don Wallace is an actor and producer from Jamaica, Queens, New York. He began his acting career in 1997 as the character Angus on the television series Breaker High. In 1998, he would follow up his appearance on Breaker High by landing a role in A Price Above Rubies featuring Renée Zellweger. In that same year, Wallace would land a role as Bulldozer in Hell’s Kitchen, featuring a star-studded cast that included Rosanna Arquette, William Forsythe, Angelina Jolie, and Mekhi Phifer.
Wallace would continue to land consistent roles on network television shows like Deadline (Bravo, 2000-01), Night Visions (Fox, 2000-01) and Resurrection Blvd. (2000-03). Wallace would also secure a role in National Lampoon’s Van Wilder (2002) starring Ryan Reynolds. In 2009, Wallace met his future wife Daya Vaidya on the set of his independent standout feature film Blue.
Photo Credit – Daya Vaidya
Daya is an actress from Oakland, California. At the age of three, she began dancing under the direction of Oakland Ballet’s Artistic Director Ron Guidi. By age eleven, she was performing at the well-regarded Bay Area Youth Theater. After graduating from high school, Vaidya attended the University of California Los Angeles, majoring in Theather with a minor in Dance. She has been featured in many regional theater productions, including the west coast premiere of Jose Rivera‘s Marisol, where she played the lead role.
In 1998, Daya was able to secure her first professional role as Dr. Johnson on the television show One World. In 1999, Vaidya would land a recurring role on the television series Hyperion Bay. She would continue to land work from 2002 to 2008 on television shows including NCIS, Cuts, All of Us, Lincoln Heights, Dexter, and Two and a Half Men. In 2011, she landed a recurring role as Nina Inara on the television program Unforgettable.
RESPECT. Had the opportunity to speak with the working couple about their upcoming project Beyond The Badge, along with some of the other projects that we can expect from the talented couple in the future. The full interview with both entertainers can be seen below!
RESPECT.: Can you tell us about your characters in your upcoming project “Beyond The Badge”?
Don Wallace – I play a character by the name of Derek Allen, who plays Kalani Allen’s husband. He is also an undercover narcotics officer who is going through PTSD. We will be touching on how to balance the stresses of police work and raising a family.
Daya Vaidya – My character Kalani Allen is married to Derek and she is also undercover. I cannot say what her undercover assignment is because it will be revealed in the pilot. The main purpose is to show what happens on the street and how it affects family at home. I think this content is important to show African-Americans, and people of color, who are police officers, and how they are dealing with situations in the community, so that they can bridge the gap between law enforcement and the citizens. We want to reflect a positive narrative that society can relate to.
RESPECT.: Are there any personal experiences you bring to your characters?
Don – The experiences that I bring to the character are growing up in New York City (Jamaica Queens), and being from an urban community. It was challenging seeing the interactions with the police department. For example, being pulled over and having a thousand different thoughts go through my head about what might happen during this encounter with law enforcement.
Daya- I will be bringing my experience of being a mother. During the story, one of the characters will be abusing children. From a mother’s perspective that hits close to home because you begin to think about your own children. We will present the point of view of what it is like to be married as these two characters, and we have worked to together before on “Blue: The American Dream.” So, we were very comfortable stepping into these roles.
RESPECT.: How is Beyond the Badge, if at all, different from other cop procedural shows like Blue Bloods, Dexter or Lincoln Heights?
Daya – I would say it is similar to Unforgettable where I appeared regularly for 22 episodes from 2011 to 2012. I played a detective. It was a very similar role to my character from “Beyond the Badge,” but the only difference is I was not undercover. The show was on CBS, and being that it was an intense show, it prepared me for this role as Kalani Allen.
Don – I played a detective by the name of Anthony Woods on Anathema that is now going through post production. Detective Anthony Woods is on the hunt for a serial killer and I talked to police officers to help draw some dialogue from their experiences during the inner workings of this project.
Daya- I think the major difference between Unforgettable, Blue Bloods, and Beyond the Badge is the leads are an African-American man and woman. This will be the first time I will be playing a lead character in a project. This project has an urban theme to the story, and there is a cultural difference between Beyond the Badge and the rest of these projects.
Don – In this project, you will see a lot more in-depth material touching on the experiences people of color have to deal with raising a family, and while trying to balance two rigorous careers as two undercover police officers.
RESPECT.: Daya you are currently in a recurring role on “General Hospital” and “Bosch”. When you are preparing for those type of roles do you have to change your routine in any way?
The biggest difference is on a soap opera like “General Hospital” they shoot more than a hundred pages of content a day compared to episodic television. So, with the change in pace between the two projects, I would have to come home and learn 40 to 70 pages worth of material a day. In terms of acting, those techniques are the same, but when it comes to memorization, you must know your lines for that scene.
RESPECT.: Don, can you tell us about your character “Khalil” in your upcoming project “When Love Kills: The Falicia Blakely Story on Tv One”?
It is a project that we shot in Atlanta last year and my character is strong-arming Falicia’s (Lil Mama) boyfriend played by Lance Gross. My character is strong-arming Lance’s character every week for money and I later get involved in a relationship with Falicia that causes an altercation between the two male characters.
RESPECT.: Can you tell us what it was like working with Lil Mama and Floyd Mayweather Jr. on set?
I had the opportunity to meet Floyd Mayweather and had a small conversation, but we did not get a chance to shoot any scenes together. He is a real decent guy. I also had the opportunity to work with Lil Mama and she is an amazing actress that is very humble, but she works her butt off. She really had to perform in some difficult scenes between Lance and myself. As a woman of color, she handled those challenges like a true professional. I also enjoyed my time working with Lance as well.
RESPECT.: Do both of you plan on attending Floyd’s fight with Connor McGregor in Vegas later this year?
Don – (laughs) If someone buys me a ticket I’ll be at that fight! This is something that I don’t want to miss and we will be tuned into.
Daya – We would love to be at that fight, boxing is a big deal in our household. If we can’t attend the fight we will be watching at home.
RESPECT.: What are some of the other projects that you will be involved in during the rest of the year?
Don – We have a project called Hustling Backwards, that I will produce starring Keith David, Daya, Tasha Smith, and Evan Parke. The project will be directed by Ryan Miningham and he also directed Beyond the Badge. I will also be a part of “Anathema” and we will be presenting at the film festival with Angie Everhart, David Andrews, and Patricia McKenzie. I also wrote a screenplay with a friend of mine named Miriam Kruishoop. The project is called Mecca and I will be playing one of the lead roles.
Daya – I am currently a recurring character on Bosch, and it is a show on Amazon Prime. I play a character by the name of Jen Kowski who is a political character within the show. It was just picked up for its fourth season and I’m hoping to be a part of the next season as well.
RESPECT.: What type of music are you currently listening to?
Don – Jay -Z, J Cole, Kendrick Lamar, and Jadakiss. Artists that have a message that the public can relate that catches my attention.
Daya – I’m listening to Justin Bieber and other pop artists because I’m normally around my children. I also like the song Most Girls by Hailee Steinfeld. Which has a great message for young girls everywhere, and there is a variety of music content aimed towards female empowerment. Those positive messages that are being presented to young girls out there is the content I enjoy listening to.
RESPECT.: How was it collaborating with indie Creator/EP Dr. Anita M. Cal on Beyond The Badge?
Don- Anita to me is an enormous talent and a wonderful individual to be around. She was willing to take ideas from the cast and implement them into the project. There is something to be said about someone coming up with an Idea and then making it happen, and that is what she did.
Daya – Anita is a go-getter and when she says something, she follows through on that promise. She has incredibly good energy and does not bring an ego to her work.
Don – I would work with her again! There are a lot of great individuals in this business that I enjoy working with, but she is at the top of that list. You will be hearing about her more in the future.
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