Digital Spy

Search Digital Spy
2

Soaps Interview

'Neighbours': Harley Bonner teases Joshua role, Willis family arrival

By
Harley Bonner as Josh Willis.

© Channel 5

Harley Bonner as Josh Willis.



Neighbours' rejuvenation period continues over the next few weeks as the Willis family descend on Erinsborough.

As announced in February, Brad Willis will be returning to Ramsay Street after nearly 20 years away, arriving with his wife Terese and their twin children Joshua and Imogen.

Harley Bonner has now been filming as Joshua for almost three months. The 22-year-old actor had a prior connection to Neighbours as his mum is Carla Bonner, better known as Steph Scully.

Digital Spy recently chatted to Harley to hear some early hints on what we can expect from Joshua and the Willises.

How did the role in Neighbours come about?
"My agent called me and said there was a regular role coming up on Neighbours that he wanted me to audition for. And I admit, I was hesitant at first. As much as it was a fantastic opportunity, I was conscious of it looking like I was following in mum's footsteps, and I'll be honest, I would really prefer to be seen as my own person.

"Anyway, my agent, who was very aware of how I felt, convinced me that this was really worth pursuing. When I was shortlisted, I was super excited and then I was offered the role, so it was a relatively smooth process."

When did your interest in acting develop?
"It's funny, I couldn't pinpoint when I actually decided I wanted to be an actor, and then I was looking back on my Grade 6 yearbook where each student had to say what their career ambition was, and mine said tennis player or actor so it was pretty early on.

"However, mum wouldn't let me get an agent or start working until I had finished Year 12. She was very firm on that - education comes first. So when I finished my final year at high school, I then enrolled at drama school full-time."

Harley Bonner as Joshua Willis in Neighbours

© Channel 5

Harley Bonner



How has Carla reacted to your casting?
"She is so excited, probably more excited than I am and I'm incredibly excited! She is a very proud mum, it's nice."

Did she give you much advice about life at Neighbours?
"She said it was a great training ground, and if you make it work here, you can make it work anywhere because it is such a fast turnaround. You pump out so much in a short space of time, and there is so much to memorise.

"However, I always thought that was how you worked in this industry from watching mum when I came into the studio and ran lines with her at home, so it wasn't a complete surprise."

What was your first day on set like and were you nervous?
"My first time on set was filming the opening titles, and this was the first time we had all been together in front of a camera. It was nerve wracking because here we were pretending to be a family unit, and we had just met!"

How would you describe the character of Joshua?
"Joshua is 17 and he is a driven guy, he has his goals set and he's not going to let anything get in his way. He gets on really well with his parents - they have a great family unit which is pretty clear when they come on screen.

"We've clicked really well as actors as well as characters. It was funny when we first met, as the family dynamic of the Willises was quite similar to the way we were in person."

The Willis Family; Brad, Terese, Imogen and Josh.

© Channel 5

The Willis family.



How well does Joshua get along with his twin sister Imogen?
"The way it was written is we get along really well, but the scripts would say otherwise! We are always at each other, but we have a sort of love-hate relationship. It's never that intense that we hate each other, but Imogen really likes to niggle him and tell him how things should be done. And he ends up thinking, 'You're my sister and I love you, but at the same time you drive me nuts!'"

We've recently seen the Turners arrive as a family with a lot of secrets. Do the Willises have some secrets too?
"We are part of the Turners' secret. The biggest front that the Willises portray is that 'we're the perfect family', and viewers will soon see there are cracks…"

Do Joshua and the Willises receive a warm welcome from the neighbours?
"It's a very positive reception because when we rock up there is an incident that happens, and I can't give anything away, but they pitch in to help and it's a nice introduction."

A lot of Joshua's promo images are with Amber Turner. Could a romance develop between them?
"Hmmm, there's not a lot I can say now but there is a bit of a connection, but I'm not sure where it will go!"

Aside from the family, which characters on the street has Joshua been interacting with the most?
"More recently, Chris Pappas, Amber and Susan Kennedy."

Harley Bonner and Jenna Rosenow.

© Channel 5

Harley with co-star Jenna Rosenow, who plays Amber.



We know that the Willises move onto the Street. Where will they be living?
"Part of his mother's deal with working at Lassiter's is accommodation, so they take over one of the residences - however, I can't say which one yet!"

Former Home and Away stars Kip Gamblin and Rebekah Elmaloglou are playing your on-screen parents. Have they given you much advice about the soap world?
"I think it's been a while since Kip and Bec worked on a show as fast-paced as this, so it hasn't so much been advice, but more working off each other as we discover more about the characters. They have been awesome 'parents'!"

Who have you made friends with on set?
"Oh, everyone! I knew James [Mason] before starting here, we were gym buddies. And of course I already knew all the established cast from when mum was here."

> Read more 'Neighbours' spoilers and news

Neighbours airs weekdays at 1.45pm and 5.30pm on Channel 5 in the UK, and weekdays at 6.30pm on Eleven in Australia.

Digital Spy Soap Scoop video - press play below to watch Amie Parker-Williams reveal gossip on infidelity in Coronation Street, a fire in Emmerdale, a new arrival in EastEnders and a murder probe in Hollyoaks.

Get the Inside Soap magazine on your iPhone or iPad

You May Like

Comments

Loading...