Actor Takaya Honda talks David and Aaron parenting storyline, working with Hugh Jackman’s wife Deborra-Lee Furness, and getting pally with ex-Corrie star Ryan Thomas!
Neighbours star Takaya Honda has talked to whatsontv.co.uk about why the show is going all out to make gay couple David Tanaka and Aaron Brennan’s latest big storyline so heartfelt.
The couple made it an Aussie soap first when they wed just a year after same sex marriage became legal in Australia.
Now the soap favourites are set to become foster parents and Takaya has revealed it’s a storyline show writers are very close to.
"They’ve worked incredibly hard to make the story as truthful as possible," explained Takaya.
"One of the writers on the show is a foster parent with his partner and they fostered over a year ago. There’s one of David and Aaron’s lines that we borrowed from their story.
"People who have been within the system or know the process will recognise a lot in it, even the speed at which things happen.
"That’s normal for a Neighbours storyline but there’s a lot that happens at a really incredible pace in the foster system world and that’s shown."
Bringing in the experts...
Producers also turned to actress and director Deborra-Lee Furness - better known as Hugh Jackman’s wife - for guidance on the story.
The couple have two adopted children and Deborra-Lee heads adoption charity Adopt Change.
"Deborra was brought on as a special director and she has an immense amount of knowledge,” Takaya commented.
"We had extra rehearsals with her, which we don’t normally get, so we could really ask as many questions as we could.
"We were able to get a lot of insights from her personal knowledge of adoption and fostering."
Takaya shared a snap on his instagram account of filming with Deborra-Lee, alongside actor Matt Wilson and newcomer, Ezra Justin.
When David and Aaron decided to be parents they considered the surrogate route.
But Aaron discovered he was carrying a genetic disease, Huntington’s, and David was hospitalised for a time after a road traffic accident and needed a kidney transplant.
"Now they feel they’re ready to take on a foster child and, once they found out more, they wanted to help as many kids as they could," explained Takaya.
Their first assessment with the fostering board came about very quickly and they ‘baby proof’ the house.
But when the assessor arrived it wasn't their sparkling worktops was interested in, but their personal history.
And their second interview is even more intrusive...
David and Aaron face their biggest challenge yet...
"The fact that they are a gay couple is brought up and it’s one thing they’re really challenged by," explained Takaya.
"Also, part of the assessment process is discovering what issues you may not have dealt with yourself because these children are going to come into your home.
"If someone else did something to you that you respond very badly to, it can have an affect on the child. It’s a very confronting thing that Aaron and David have to deal with."
Despite fearing rejection, the couple are delighted when very quickly they are asked to take on a child.
But they’re surprised to be introduced to 13-year-old, Emmett (played by Ezra Justin).
"They’ve read all the books on taking care of a baby but haven’t really figured out what to do with a teenager!" Takaya shared.
"There’s a lot of question marks over whether they are capable of taking care of a teenager and not making it worse for him."
While Neighbours was on temporary shutdown, Takaya kept himself busy chatting to soap stars on his Youtube show #takTalks - including our very own Ryan Thomas!
Former Coronation Street star Ryan appeared in Neighbours in 2018 as David’s troubled lover Rafael Humphreys.
"We had a great a chat and talked about his Mancs in Mumbai series [which began on ITV in April].
"He’s a beautiful man and we dived into his early life and Corrie, the difference between Corrie and Neighbours, and the experiences actors have through their lives… It’s not all about the glamour!"
You can find Takaya’s chat with Ryan and other soap stars, including transgender Neighbours actor Georgie Stone, on the Takaya Honda YouTube channel.
Neighbours airs weekdays at 1.45pm and 5.30pm on Channel 5
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