April 2, 2014 at 11:00 am EDT | by Joey DiGuglielmo
A milestone in the hourglass
Will Horton, Sonny Kiriakis, Marlena, Deidre Hall, Freddie Smith, Guy Wilson, Days of Our Lives, soap opera, gay marriage, same-sex marriage, marriage equality, Salem, gay news, Washington Blade

Guy Wilson (left) as Will, Deidre Hall as Marlena and Freddie Smith as Sonny on ‘Days of Our Lives.’ Will and Sonny made history this week as the first same-sex male wedding on a daytime soap. (Photo by Howard Wise, JPI Studios)

Long-running NBC daytime soap “Days of Our Lives” made history this week when characters Sonny Kiriakis (son of Justin and Adrienne) and Will Horton (son of Lucas and Sami) were united in marriage by Dr. Marlena Evans (Deidre Hall), Will’s grandmother. They’re not the first ever same-sex couple (“All My Children” had a 2009 lesbian wedding) but they’re the first male soap power couple and first same-sex male wedding.

Actor Guy Wilson, who took over the role of Will in episodes airing in January (actor Chandler Massey won two Daytime Emmys playing Will starting in 2010), caught up with the Blade during a break in filming this week. The Los Angeles-based actor, who, along with co-star Freddie Smith who plays Sonny, is straight, says it’s been an honor to work on the show in a groundbreaking storyline.

“I’ve had to pinch myself,” the 28-year-old San Francisco native says. “You know, part of my interest in going into entertainment at a young age was to hopefully make a difference in life. And I feel at 28, which I still feel very, very young, so to be part of something so special at a young age and that I care about on a personal level, it’s a blessing. It’s part of why I was so excited back in August when I heard I had a chance of getting this part, to see it now come to fruition and to get to do what I love everyday, it’s all I need to be happy.”

Wilson, who met his predecessor Massey a couple times in 2011 when Wilson had auditioned for two other roles on the show, says he and Smith have “found a really comfortable place.”

“We’re obviously friends but playing roles that are so emotionally intimate, you know, we’ve definitely developed a special kind of bond. It’s almost too simple to say he’s one of my best friends because we’ve shared this emotional journey together for the last almost seven months. … He’s definitely one of the most important people in my life.”

Wilson, who’s also had roles on “NCIS,” “Castle,” “Bones” and “Breaking Bad” says the fast shooting schedule in daytime has been a challenge with most scenes shooting after one quick rehearsal, but he’s growing accustomed to the pace. The wedding scenes were shot about four months ago, which is typical.

Working with soap parents Bryan Dattilo (Lucas) and Alison Sweeney (Sami), both longtime vets of the show, has been grounding. He says Hall has gone above and beyond in her efforts to make him feel welcome and get him up to speed.

“She never hesitated at any point to share all of her knowledge and all of her experience with me and to be really detailed with that information and with that level of specificity made it so much easier to continue the relationship between Will and Marlena, which is very important to the show.”

And long-time executive producer Ken Corday whose parents started the show in 1965? Wilson isn’t sure if he was around when he auditioned, but says he’s seen him “a few times” on the set.

“I really like that man,” he says. “He’s very cool.”

Wilson laughs when asked if Salem, the show’s fictional base town, has a gay bar.

“If there are, I haven’t been to them,” he says with a chuckle.

Of course, given the medium, it’s inevitable that Will and Sonny will have many ups and downs if they stay on the show. Wilson says as an actor, he looks forward to that.

“With conflict comes growth,” he says. “One thing that’s been very satisfying about the whole WilSon (as fans have dubbed it) storyline is they do a really good job of communicating with each other. I actually think they have one of the healthier relationships on daytime TV. … But with adulthood comes adult problems so as an actor I’m very excited to tackle those.”

Joey DiGuglielmo is the Features Editor for the Washington Blade.

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