Get Ready, Sydney! 'Neighbours' Is Coming To Mardi Gras

We sat down with 'Neighbours' stars Takaya Honda and Matt Wilson to chat about Mardi Gras, what the 'Neighbours' float will look like, and the importance of championing progressive storylines.

What does it mean for you both to be involved in something like the Mardi Gras? Both as actors and your characters?

Takaya Honda: We're both truly honoured to play these two characters. And the fortune that we've had playing David and Aaron -- to not only have been involved in the first legal same-sex marriage on an Australian drama -- but to be able to partner with the Mardi Gras, a festival that celebrates equality so well, and has fought for the community so well, it’s a really brilliant partnership between Fremantle, Neighbours and Mardi Gras.

Matt Wilson: This is a celebration of our work and the messages that we try and convey every single day. I guess with Neighbours, a lot of the storylines we do now, particularly in the last 10 years, we are always trying to be at the forefront of breaking the perception society has on current issues, and that's exactly how Mardi Gras started.

How does it feel to be a part of a show that promotes inclusiveness and equality as much as Neighbours does? Do you feel a sense of pride?

Matt: Yeah! Of course! It is something to be so proud of. I feel like it’s much more exciting to be on a show that is progressive than one that sits on the sidelines and does what everyone else does. And you can see that we actually change the way that people see things through our storylines -- from problems in the world to personal problems -- and we actually have the power to change the way certain generations see that and how they handle it. And the way we do that is tackling each problem, through storytelling, and we get the feedback with messages to us personally. People reach out and say ‘hey, this really helped me. I see how proud you are about being you and you only, and now I’ve come out and it’s helped me a lot’.

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Is there a sense of responsibility attached to that too?

Takaya: Yeah, for me coming from Japanese heritage, I didn’t grow up watching Neighbours thinking that would ever be part of my future as an actor, but now to be a part of it and to be a part of something that is celebrating people of Asian descent, people of Indian descent, people of different sexualities and really trying to form a representation of the Australian community as a whole, there is huge pride for me in that, but there is also a huge sense of responsibility.

Will you be filming any episodes out there?

Matt: Yes! For the first time ever Neighbours will be filming at the Mardi Gras for an episode to air in 2020. So if you’re out there and see the cameras, do your best to look straight down the barrel and ruin it for the editors (laughing). We don’t normally shoot so far in advance, and it will be totally chaotic, but we cannot wait! It will be yet another milestone for us. Who would have thought going to a party would be a milestone in your career?

Can you tell us a little bit about the float design?

Takaya: Well it’s a little bit top secret! But we can give you a little tiny hint and tell you that all of the cast have been invited to attend and it’s going to be a joyous garden party! Stay tuned.

Matt: Oh and we are going to try and involve as many of the cast as possible, and also the crew because they are all part of the show that we make, and they are all sending the same message that we are sending, so it’s really important they are there too!

What are you looking forward to the most?

Matt: Bring on the party!

Takaya: Everyone is out to have a good time! I cannot wait.

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