by Jennifer Squires Biller
Veronica Mars fans, you asked for it and you got it: An exclusive interview with Percy Daggs III, better known as Veronica’s best pal and sidekick, Wallace Fennel.
That’s right, Tubers, Percy took time out of his busy schedule to answer Tube Talk Girl’s most probing questions. (And some that weren’t so probing, too!)
Read on for this fun interview, in which Percy discusses the possibility of a Veronica/Wallace hookup, the storyline he hopes to get and what he never wants to do at Java the Hut.
Prepare to laugh. This guy is a riot.
Jennifer: Your character went from being duct taped to a flagpole in his skivvies, in the pilot, to basketball star/Mr. Smooth Operator with the honeys this season. How did that happen?
Percy: Smooth Operator, huh? That's funny. He's no Don Juan, but he has his methods (A charming smile might be his secret weapon.) It's scary for a teenager to go to a new school and have to adjust, especially in a new city and state (Especially a place like Neptune.) And unfortunately for Wallace, he wasn't given a chance from the start. Then the one person who did, happened to be the person the whole school loves to hate. Once the school noticed he could do something well that benefits all of them, then they began to accept and enjoy him. Although Wallace may be comfortable with that, I believe he understands why he is treated differently, and that's why he remains so loyal to his BFF.
Jennifer: Can you tell us anything about the rest of the season that won't get you in trouble and result in Wallace being the next big murder mystery?
Percy: We DEFINITELY don't want that to happen. Well, at least I don't. You said earlier Wallace has a couple honeys lately? His love life is blossoming, but where there is honey there might be honeybees. Wallace might get stung in the heart a little bit. Maybe.
Jennifer: Wallace and Veronica have great chemistry. Do you think there's a possibility of a Wallace/Veronica hookup, or is their relationship more of a sibling nature? (I get this question all the time from readers.)
Percy: I think they are more of a sibling nature. Their parents did date for a minute. Speakin' of that, what did Keith do to my momma? I haven't seen her in a while...But I think they (Wallace and Veronica) make great friends, but you never know, some of the best relationships start with friendship first. All her other boyfriends aren't really around so I'm cool with being buddies!
Jennifer: Wallace/Percy has some nice pipes, as he demonstrated with his rendition of Papa Was A Rolling Stone. Will we see Wallace belting karaoke at Java The Hut anytime soon?
Percy: Thanks for the compliment. I think I love singing more than people love to listen to me. But I'm decent. No Luther Vandross, but I try to make it do what it do. Oh, uh, naw, I'm stayin’ away from the Hut!
Jennifer: IMDB has your age listed as 24. Assuming that's correct, what's it like playing a teenager in high school?
Percy: Hey I need all my time; I’m only 23. I look very young, so I still get carded at liquor stores sometimes. It's okay. It's interesting to revisit some of the teenage emotions and things that we used to deal with when we were that age. Our cares are different, ya know? Sometimes it's nice to get to the set and Wallace's biggest problem is how he can get a kiss from this girl or help Veronica with this case, instead of how am I gonna pay this bill or post this bail. (Editor’s note: Jennifer is shocked into silence.)
Percy: I'm kidding. I've never been to jail, but you get the point!
Jennifer: Speaking of high school, were you a freak, geek or a jock?
Percy: I don't know how this will sound but I can't really say. I was just me. I played sports at a school with a great sports reputation. Go Poly! I was on the speech and debate team and in the honors academic program. I knew all the gangsters and at-risk youth, because I grew up with them and my high school was in the heart of a tough community. And I did commercials, which was kind of unique for a high school kid. And I was crazy. I used to do some really silly stuff at lunch to make people laugh. So I guess I was a freak, geek and a jock!?
Jennifer: Speaking of freaks and geeks, you were on one of my all-time favorite shows: Freaks and Geeks as Mathlete #2. I loved that episode. What was it like working with the freaks and geeks?
Percy: I had fun filming that show. It was a good show, too, but I didn’t really spend too much time with them. But I do remember the ones I met were nice people.
Jennifer: Tell us about your audition for Wallace. Who did you test with? Did you think you had the part when you finished?
Percy: I tested with one other young man, and he has a difficult name to say and spell. Kristen Bell was in the room reading with each of us. I was nervous, but the good kinda nervous. If I don’t get that feeling in my stomach I think that I'm not humble or just don’t want it bad enough. I wasn't sure if I had the part or not, but I was sure that I had done my best. I tend to be really hard on myself, but win or lose I was satisfied with my effort that day. After that though, I had to test again alone. I think twice more. I had to have unshakeable faith for this part. It's been quite a journey, too.
Jennifer: The episode where Wallace “was on the case” to find out who hit Jackie's car was one of our favorites. Any chance Wallace will chuck his job at the Sac-N-Pac and start moonlighting at Mars Investigations?
Percy: Honestly, you should help me by blogging the Hell out of that. I have no idea what the chances of that are, but that is what I saw for this character when I first read the script. I think that is a great, better yet, the right direction for Wallace Fennel. Hopefully the writers think so too.
Jennifer: Speaking of Jackie, is she really a ho or just misunderstood?
Percy: I would say misunderstood. While she played the field while her and Wallace were dating, you don't really see her having much of a ho-ish nature. I think Veronica's love life is more interesting than Jackie's, from what we see as an audience.
Jennifer: Where do things stand with Wallace and Jackie?
Percy: Well in Rashard and Wallace go to White Castle, she helped him get exonerated for murder, but they aren't back together by no means. But patience, Daniel-son (laughing.)
Jennifer: Veronica Mars has some of the smartest, funniest dialogue on the tube. Do you have a favorite line? (Here's mine: Veronica: “Got any enemies you know about?” Wallace: “Well, there's the clan.” )Yes, sadly, I can quote Veronica Mars dialogue. OK, your turn.
Percy: I love how much you love us. Trust me it's appreciated. Ummm, I don’t know if I should because a couple of my favorite lines are in upcoming episodes. But uhh, let me think...awww, I don’t know.
Jennifer: Are the two earrings you wear just for the character of Wallace or are those all Percy?
Percy: My style. But funny thing, it kinda happened by accident. We were about to film the first episode, and I had filmed with my earrings in and I hadn't decided whether or not I wanted them for my character. I had to finish the episode with them. I justified continuing with them, by thinking that besides the fact that many of young African-Americans have them. I remember that I wanted one and my mom made me ask my father. He thought they were feminine and asked for one good reason why he should let me. I told him that some of the most influential, prominent and respectable black leaders in society have an earring, and Michael Jordan was in my list of names. Wallace loves basketball. Why not? By the way, my dad has an earring now...(laughter)
Jennifer: Do you have a storyline you'd like to see for Wallace? Who would you like to work with more and why?
Percy: That's already on the show? Well one of them just happened. Wallace and Logan spend some time together soon. Jason plays an interesting character, and they haven’t spoken to each other since the pilot. Neither has Weevil and Wallace. They are both good at what they do and the way the characters would relate to each other would be interesting.
Jennifer: Do you have any fun blooper stories?
Percy: Naw, not really. As fun and crazy as I can be, that's a really sad statement, too.
Jennifer: Wallace's dad was introduced this season. Will we be seeing more of the Fennel family?
Percy: I don’t think so. Well at least not this season. It's the Veronica Mars show, so unfortunately we only get to see into Wallace's family once or twice a season. Hopefully, we get to work together a little more next season, if possible. I miss Cress and Erica. They are great to work with. My real life brother plays my little brother too.
Jennifer: This is the part of the interview I get all Barbara Walters on you. Please have a tissue ready. Who do you most admire on the set? (Feel free to be Switzerland, if you think this question will put a price on your head. I don't want Jason Dohring, Francis Capra or Enrico Colantoni coming after you.)
Percy: (Laughing) I admire the cast for the same reason really. Despite any differences we may have or problems we may encounter on the set or in our personal lives, I admire them all for remaining so passionate about what they choose and have been chosen to do, and for being able to put out their best effort to make the show as good as it can be for the rest of us and for themselves.
Jennifer: Who has had the most influence on your life?
Percy: That's hard to say. My mother and father have been very influential in my life, for the foundation of faith, morals and principles they have instilled in me. Whether in separate households, they both, and including they rest of my family, have always shown me unconditional love. My big brother as well. He is a couple years older than me, but as my brother and peer he has always lived a lifestyle that a lil' brother can look up to and try and live up to.
Jennifer: Are you single? (This is the second most popular question I get!)
Percy: Fashizzle. Yeah, no girlfriend.
Jennifer: Let's talk about Kristen Bell for a minute. She made my list of Emmy snubs this year. http://tubetalk.blogspot.com/2006/02/emmy-nominations-2005.html She was so robbed. What's it like working with her?
Percy: It's a pleasure. She is always focused and ready to work, quick-witted and funny. We always have a good vibe when we are on set together. Honestly, she has helped me improve on being very camera savvy. And knowing the names of every single crew member and guest star. Hey, she is there more often than I am! And, oh yeah, she was robbed. She definitely dedicates a lotta time and effort to this show and executes her role very well. Real clean and consistent work.
Jennifer: You've been on some really cool shows: NYPD Blue, The Guardian, Boston Public and the aforementioned Freaks and Geeks. What's been your favorite gig?
Percy: A movie you may have not seen. It's called Blue Hill Avenue and it was my first film. I was 18 years old and had to move to Canada for a little over a month. I was headed to college but made a serious choice at a turning point in my life, so I was very grateful for the experience and the opportunity to grow and be my on my own. I made some lifetime friends and learned a lot from several actors that I really admire, for example Allen Payne and Clarence Williams III.
Jennifer: If you weren't acting, what would you do?
Percy: I would be in college earning my degree and playing college b-ball. I really got serious hoop game...I was taught not to limit myself to one thing or one title. A plumber can be a plumber, a writer, a mechanic, a musician and whatever else he or she wants to be in this life.
Jennifer: Your name, Percy Daggs, is very unusual and cool. Is it a family name?
Percy: It is. I’m the third but even my great grandpa was named Percy, but he never took on the Sr. suffix or I would be the fourth. I was asked if I would use a different name for entertainment a few times by my family and others, and I could never do that. I can play a character with another name but this is my name. It means something to the people that know it and it means something to me. I follow a line of very respectable, loving and generous gentleman that I pray that I live up to the name for the way these men lived their lives. I would never want to disrespect them by changing it. But I do want my first-born child to be a girl so I don’t have to feel the pressure of my Pops and my family to name a son, Percy. He probably wouldn't mind if I didn’t though.
Jennifer: Do you watch television? If so, what are your favorite shows?
Percy: I really don’t watch much TV at all. If I do, I’m probably watching sports, Sportscenter, Judge Mathis, The Sopranos, The Wire, the History Channel, or maybe a game show or something. All time favorites are Martin, Sanford & Son, and In Living Color, to name a few.
Jennifer: Is there anything fans, including Tube Talk Girl, can do to help get Veronica Mars picked up for next season?
Percy: Write in. Tell others how much you love us. Buy a few thousand copies of the first season and pass them out! I’m kidding. Naw, you help us a lot by doing what you do and just talking about one of the hottest unknowns in television. Speaking of unknown, you can steal a couple Nielson boxes if you feel like it. Just if you feel like it though.
Jennifer (laughing): Is there anything I haven't asked that you would like to say to the billions of fans and important network executives who are going to read this interview? (OK, so there aren't billions of fans, and the important network executives don't care about this blog, but a girl can dream, right?)
Percy: Of course a girl can dream...(laughter.) Hey you never know Joss Whedon and Stephen King have love for us. I would like to say that I appreciate you all, thank you for taking an hour out of your life every week that we are on to be entertained by us. Network execs...Let's make money together.
Jennifer: Can you sing the Veronica Mars theme song? (Just kidding. But, seriously, you know I can!)
Percy: We used to be friends, a long time go...dada dadada, dada dadadada....(More laughter.) I will send your regards to the cast and thanks for the interview. It was very honest and fun, and I enjoyed answering your questions. Take care! Peace and blessings to all of you. I'm out.
Tube talk girl can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
by Jennifer Squires Biller