Today on Days of our Lives, history was made when Sonny and Will said their vows in front of their family and friends and became, “husbands for life”! Officiating the big day was Marlena who made their union legal.
And with that, the love story of Sonny and Will had come full circle. There were plenty of tears with speeches from Lucas, Justin, and Caroline, and the groom’s themselves, and moments that surely had DAYS fans in the mainstream, or those in the LGBT community, reaching for the hankies in an emotional episode for all-time.
On-Air On-Soaps spoke this afternoon to Freddie Smith (Sonny), Guy Wilson (Will) and Deidre Hall (Marlena) as around the country the first daytime male same-sex wedding in soaps was airing. We take a look at the making of WilSon’s big day, what went on behind the scenes during the taping, and what the actors thought of the special moments written throughout the ceremony and more! In a very special chat, here are Freddie, Guy, and Deidre!
Viewers have really been watching this journey through Sonny’s eyes for several years now, and this marriage has been a long time coming for his character!
FREDDIE: To think about the first episode where Sonny showed up and told his Uncle Vic he was gay, to getting married, these three years have been such a huge, huge journey and like, “Wow!” It is amazing to see how Sonny has grown as a character, and he loves Will with his all his heart.
On yesterday’s episode and throughout today’s wedding episode, there have been little nuggets in scenes and nuances. For example; an emotional Sami (Alison Sweeney) fixing Will’s tie and saying how much she loves him, the grooms mom’s each walking them down the aisle, etc. What did you think of all that was put into the wedding?
GUY: I think it was so well done, and even on the day we were shooting, I was so impressed with how much attention to detail was put into the entire production. And when I say that, I don’t just mean in terms of how everything looked, I mean with every moment and look had a story to it. Even the moment when Will was going to enter and walk down the aisle with his mother Sami, those moments were steeped in so much history within their relationship. It added so much power to those scenes as an actor. Everything felt so emotionally charged. I credit that to the writers and the producers and the director. No detail was left unattended.
I was not sure how DAYS was going to decide to pull off the wedding of Sonny and Will. Would it be traditional or non-traditional? They went with in the end a ceremony that in many respects was traditional in form as in any heterosexual wedding you might see on the show, sans a DAYSastrous outcome!
GUY: In so many respects it was traditional in terms of the scale and the set-up. I think that was a very shrew move. I think the whole point behind showing and growing the relationship is to show that there is nothing different. I have said it before and I will say it again, “love is love”. There is no need to alter society’s traditions to accommodate that.
FREDDIE: We work our butts off every single day from the cast to the crew. But you know when you have a special day that you put a little something extra on it in every respect. That is why we stayed an extra three hours on set shooting it, because it’s so important. Today is so important. It has that little extra cherry on top, and we all felt it and that is what I thought was so amazing. It wasn’t very hard to act that day. It was super emotional. I was super emotional and blown away and looking at Judi Evans (Adrienne). She really loves me as a person and as the character. It was a really great moment for me. I don’t want to put words in his mouth, but Guy loved it too. He and I were just looking at each other on the altar…
GUY: … And all we had to be was just present, every detail was there, and so much history. That is all we needed to get the emotions going.
DEIDRE: It was long day, because our director felt very strongly about it being a magical show. We moved walls in, we moved walls out, and we moved windows in. But I am assuming to the viewers it showed on camera the care we put into it. While the episode aired today, I heard everyone in the hallways at DAYS saying how fabulous it was. I unfortunately did not see it, as I was on set.
Do you realize the true enormity of this wedding? Never before on an American daytime drama has a gay male couple got hitched!
GUY: I do. I feel so much pride to be a part of it and for NBC and the DAYS writers to be courageous and unapologetic to show something that is long overdue to being shown.
Many have been concerned that the wedding happened to soon after Guy stepped into the role of Will Horton after the departure of Chandler Massey. What do you feel about that? Should it have happened further down the line when Guy was more firmly implanted into the show?
FREDDIE: I feel that having a new actor come into a role where the audience has watched someone else for four years, and to really kick start this, it was really smart if you think about it. To have the wedding this quickly has connected Guy and Freddie now.
GUY: This is officially our era now. I think Freddie articulated that really well. If they would have waited, I don’t think it would have served the relationship of Will and Sonny in accordance to how they want to live their lives and express their love for one another. I think this storyline should remain true to itself. In hindsight, I think it was a great idea to have jumped right into the wedding, and I know I had a lot of fun doing it.
DEIDRE: I know it was a concern, but I bow to greater minds. They had their finger on the pulse.
Deidre, how has it been though for you with the change from Chandler to Guy? You had created the special bond between the character of Marlena and Will with Chandler. She was crucial and a key anchor to the coming out storyline and Will’s journey. But now, Will is in a different place as a married man, as played by Guy.
DEIDRE: Chandler and I worked very hard. It was a serious, highly concerted effort to make these two characters so close. We worked intimately and deeply for months and months and months, so people could relate to the relationship between their own grandmother and grandson, and come to understand it. Guy and I did not have that history together on the show, and the character of Will is in a different place than he was when he was struggling to come out.
What did you think of the actual ceremony? The speeches … hankie-time?
FREDDIE: It’s a beautiful wedding and I cannot wait to see the speeches. Everyone was so touching! I purposely did not read the speeches, so I did not know what they were going to say until I heard them when we taped. I really wanted to hear and react to them for the first time then. There was this little moment with Adrienne and Sami, who go back and forth at the reception trying to outdo one another, and it’s hilarious.
I loved the touch that the two dads spoke at the ceremony … Lucas (Bryan Datillo) and Justin (Wally Kurth)!
GUY: They are very powerful speeches and from two characters that have been on the show for such a long time. I couldn’t be happier that the writers had them have a strong role in it.
What did you think of Caroline’s (Peggy McKay) speech? That will get the water works going, because viewers did not know if it was her Alzheimer’s disease and she was confused, or if she had a point to her story, and boy, did she have a point to it!
DEIDRE: It was so important, and what I remember at that time was that every person that got up to do their part just killed us all. We are a tough room. Peggy’s speech, “Oh my Gosh.” You had been set-up thinking Caroline was going to forget what she wanted to say, and true to form I did not read any other parts in the script except the ones I was in involved in (laughs), so I saw it play out when we taped it. Peggy got up to say her speech. I said to myself, “Don’t listen, you are going to cry.” And one after the other after the other, made me cry. Bryan Datillo’s (Lucas) speech was amazing.
Were there any behind-the-scenes moments were there was plenty of laughter through the emotions of the long tape day of the wedding? There had to be!
GUY: There were many. However, for our first dance as a newlywed couple, Freddie and I went to the middle of the floor and we realized neither one of us knew how to Waltz or dance! We weren’t sure who leads and who follows. So we tried to do it and it was just awkward. Meanwhile, the entire cast is circled around us and everyone on the show is now watching us like robots! Finally the director yells, “Cut!” Now the director, who has a background in dance, grabs me and says, ‘This is how you lead.” Then, he grabs Freddie and says, “This is how you lead, and every few beats you switch off and take turns leading each other.” So he had to lead us through it in front of the entire cast. That was this one wonderful moment of levity after we had shot so many emotional filled moments.
FREDDIE: It was super embarrassing! We just did not know how to do it and JJ (Casey Moss) is playing the guitar and we are fumbling around like a bunch of idiots. (Laughs)
So Freddie, what is everyone on your Twitter account saying about WilSon’s wedding?
FREDDIE: It’s incredible and it’s been blowing up! People have been saying, “It’s beautiful and it’s about time,” and every and anything you can imagine. This is one of the days that my friends want to watch, because they don’t necessarily watch the show on a regular basis. I thought that was really special that my best friends in the world want to watch the wedding as well, because they know how important it is.
The wedding of Sonny and Will is a groundbreaking moment in soaps and for DAYS. Deidre, you have been with the show much longer than Freddie and Guy and been part of a lot of historic firsts for soaps.
DEIDRE: I think DAYS is known for groundbreaking stories on television. I did the first crib death and the only one on TV, and that was extraordinary. The “possession” storyline was a first, and that is sort of what we do over here. We do it with people that can be trusted with the story. And I only mean by that that the possession story had to be about Marlena, because you had to know everybody was going to be safe at the end. If you had done that with a disposable character, or a grey character, or an evil character, you would have gone, “Well, they are all going to have to die, and it will all just be a bad dream.” Hence the gay wedding! I think people will forgive a lot if Marlena has got them by the arm. This is about human rights. Let’s get off of our judgment, and let’s talk about humanity. I think that perspective might help people see things more clearly.
The choice to have Marlena officiate the wedding was another move that seemed to be made for those viewers in the mainstream, who may be opposed to a same-sex union, to help them accept Sonny and Will’s nuptials. Thoughts?
FREDDIE: It is so smart, if you really think about it as a business. You have Marlena (Deidre Hall), who has millions and millions of fans, and someone like John Aniston (Victor) who also has millions of fans key to this. Yesterday, Victor told off that businessman telling him he was bigot and close-minded. They strategically placed it within the show without pointing any fingers. It was done so brilliantly and using those power actors to support it, just gives it that much more weight.
DEIDRE: I think she is a natural for it. She helped Will come out, and she loves Sonny, and she is like the power person in the room.
FREDDIE: They had to have the wedding go right. This will be an episode that will standalone. This episode means a lot to me and will be like one of the top ten episodes that DAYS had ever shot within its 12,000 plus episodes.
In closing, Freddie you have brought such a special quality that DAYS knew they had when they cast you in the role. You are so beloved for Sonny, and his strength at never denying who he is, who he loves, or what he wants. So there has to be a part of you that is so thrilled that you are the guy that got to bring this story home from beginning to end, and now on to the next phase.
FREDDIE: It goes back to, now that I have been in the business for awhile, when I think, “Why didn’t I get all those roles? What do they mean I wasn’t right for it?” I just had that quality that the writer who made this character up, just had. So I just did my thing, and they were like, “That’s Sonny!” I am just so happy that it got to be me, because I have been having a ball. This has been the best job in the world. It’s been an honor. I can’t wait to sit down and watch the wedding!
So, what did you think of Sonny and Will’s wedding? The sentiments here from Freddie, Guy and Deidre? What was your favorite moment from the episode? Comment below!