Takaya Honda: What It Was Like To Shoot The First Same-Sex Wedding On Aussie TV
In 2018, I had the absolute privilege of being one half of the first same-sex marriage broadcast on Australian television after it became legal in Australia.
I only found out about the wedding just after I booked the role of David Tanaka. The producers told me that the plan was to have David marry Aaron, Matt Wilson's character (shout out to #daaron!).
Matt and I put a lot of work into fostering a relationship that would have the audience barracking for our characters as they took the leap to say “I do”.
It was amazing to see the response to the news of the impending storyline on social media. When a negative comment went up on Facebook, there would be a stream of fans replying in support of the wedding. They would say how much they loved Aaron and David together and they'd insist that Aaron and David absolutely HAD to get married.
In a way, the moment became a turning point in LGBTQI+ representation, ushering in an era when a same-sex wedding can become normalised, rather than tokenistic or stereotyped.
Matt and I did a bunch of interviews in the lead up to the episode airing and not one interviewer made a big deal out of the fact that it was a same-sex or interracial marriage. Not too long ago, that would have been the main focus of the story. This highlights the importance of moments like these -- the “firsts” lead to “seconds” which lead to broader mainstream social developments.
The idea is that an interracial marriage can just be a marriage and eventually, a same-sex marriage can be just another marriage too, because love is love.
On the day we filmed the wedding scenes, we had an amazing but crazy time. First of all, I was really sick -- not great timing for an all-day shoot on a storyline that was huge for my character. Also, between cut and action, Matt and I were stepping offset to do interviews with members of the media who had been invited to watch.
On top of all that, MAGDA SZUBANSKI was the celebrant for the wedding! What a tour de force she delivered! I actually had to work hard not to just stop mid-scene and watch her.
Once the episode aired (I missed the first half because I was filming late that day), the response was immense. The positivity that was thrown in our way was incredible. Matt and I couldn't stop smiling.
Between David's big coming out moment and the wedding, I have received so many gratifying messages about how these storylines have given people the courage to come out or, in some cases, actually get married.
At the end of the day, this is why I'm an actor -- to make a positive impact on someone's life. For me, there is no greater reward.