Since David Tanaka (Takaya Honda) arrived in Neighbours in 2016, we have rarely seen him lose his cool. He has generally been the calm voice of reason when things get heated with friends and family, but that has all changed with the latest drama he is being forced to endure.
Nicolette Stone (Charlotte Chimes) has recently done a runner with his unborn baby after believing she had been betrayed by girlfriend Chloe Brennan (April Rose Pengilly) with David’s brother, Leo (Tim Kano), and David is, quite rightly, furious at those around him, who he believes could have cost him his daughter.
Takaya has been talking to RadioTimes.com about the story and what it has been like for him to play this whole new side of David that we have not seen before.
“It’s been a great release because the challenge with David is to reason out why he doesn’t explode at people,” Takaya says of his normally quite, placid character. “I’ve always complained because he’s always apologising – even when he hasn’t done anything wrong – so it was great for me as Takaya to have scenes where David is the one to go ‘you know what? No. None of this is OK, I told you all this was going to happen, and you all ignored me.’ It’s fun to have David shove how he feels into all their faces for a change and those scenes, particularly the punch between Leo and David, were fun for Tim and I.”
David does have a history of being the nice guy, and even when he nearly died after Kyle Canning (Chris Milligan) hit him with the ute, he didn’t even get angry. “I’m pretty sure I actually apologised to Kyle. I shouldn’t have been on the footpath on my bike, I’m really sorry, Kyle. And that was even the second time he was hit by that same ute because Sonya reversed it into the backpackers and took him out. The third time will be dangerous.”
And while David does not yet know how big a part Paul played in Nicolette’s departure, Takaya finds the turn of events to be a really interesting one for Paul’s character, saying “it highlights that while Paul says he does everything for family, there is a side to him that is particularly evil, and this is one of those cases where he can’t help himself from telling someone what he thinks of them – just so they know it.”
And David could be at risk of losing his job as we have already seen him lose his cool at the hospital, this time by harassing a colleague for information. Upcoming scenes will see him debate breaking some serious rules to get a lead on where Nicolette has gone. But if things had gone Takaya’s way, we would have seen a desperate David go even darker than we have already seen.
“I wanted to push it further to show that with this kind of storyline where it’s your child and you’ve been wanting one for so long, and the difficulties faced by a gay couple to have a child, to get to a matter of weeks until the baby is born and for it to be taken away, I wanted to show the lengths that it could push you to. He doesn’t care about his job at this point, all he cares about is his baby and there is nothing he wouldn’t give up to make sure she is safe. I wanted him to go darker and darker with it and for it to be a turning point for the character – his moral centre crumbles and it’s how he will get it back that is interesting.”
One non-Neighbours related question we had to ask was whether there would be a return of TakTalks, a YouTube interview series Takaya ran during the first lockdown in Melbourne. The outlook seems to be positive on that front.
“I want to. It’s hard while filming, especially with this story where we have been filming an insane amount of scenes, nearly double each week, but it is on the cards to return. We’ll see what happens, but it should be back in some form.”