Kim Coates Discusses ‘Neon Lights’ and the legacy of ‘Sons of Anarchy'
Moviefone speaks to Kim Coates about 'Neon Lights,' working with Bruce Willis on 'The Last Boy Scout,' and reprising his 'Sons' role on 'Mayans M.C.'
Premiering on digital and On Demand beginning July 12th is the new horror thriller ‘Neon Lights,’ which was written and directed by Rouzbeh Heydari.
The new movie was written by and stars Dana Abraham as Clay Amani, a tech tycoon that brings his estranged to a remote location for a reunion. However, unbeknown to his guests, Clay is haunted by a mysterious figure named Denver (Kim Coates), which leads to a deadly killing spree.
Actor Kim Coates’ career has spanned over 35 years! He has appeared in countless successful movies such as ‘The Last Boy Scout,’ ‘The Client,’ ‘Bad Boys,’ ‘Black Hawk Down,’ ‘Open Range,’ and ‘Resident Evil: Afterlife,’ as well as popular TV shows like ‘Prison Break,’ ‘Entourage,’ ‘CSI: Miami,’ ‘Bad Blood,’ and ‘Van Helsing.’
But he is probably best remembered for his role as Alexander “Tig” Trager on FX’s ‘Sons of Anarchy,’ and recently reprised his part on the spinoff ‘Mayans M.C.’
Moviefone recently had the pleasure of speaking with Kim Coates about his new movie ‘Neon Lights,’ acting with his daughter, working with Bruce Willis on ‘The Last Boy Scout,’ the legacy of ‘Sons of Anarchy’ and reprising his role on ‘Mayans M.C.’
You can read our full interview with Kim Coates below or watch the interview by clicking on the video player above.
Moviefone: To begin with, as a producer and an actor, why did you want to be a part of this project, and what was your first reaction to the screenplay?
Kim Coates: Well, it was pretty simple, really. I mean, the pandemic just started. It was 2020 and everything was shut down. Everyone left L.A. and I went back to Canada. Around June or July of 2020, in Canada, before America, before we had all the vaccines, things started to pick up a little.
This script was thrown at me in September of 2020 and when my Canadian manager-agent brought it to me, she said, "You know what? They obviously want you bad because they need a name in this little beautiful, independent film, but there's a part for Brenna as well." So, I read it and Brenna, my daughter, plays Laila, the psychiatrist. So, when I read it, I had that in mind.
But I really have to tell you that this guy, Denver Kane, who I play, I can't really say much about this guy. You need to discover this character when you're watching the movie, because he’s freaky, he's cocky, and this is a weird psychological thriller with a bit of horror in there. It really encompasses everything.
When I read this story, I threw everything else out. I threw me out, and Brenna out. I thought about the mental health aspect of the movie, and we're in the middle of a pandemic or the beginning of a pandemic. What Dana Abraham did in writing this thing and starring in this thing was mind-blowing to me. So, that's why I said yes.
MF: How do you approach playing a character that is purposefully mysterious in the screenplay?
KC: Well, that's just a terrific question because, is he really there, is he not there? What's happening? The beginning takes a little bit of time. It's very freaky. You don't know what's going on. Then the movie really starts. Then Dana starts to sit down with his psychiatrist, played by Brenna, and we can't say much to you after that. But then the story evolves in going to this estate with his former foster brothers and their wives, girlfriends, and a kid.
They go for this like reawakening with Dana’s character, trying to figure out who he is, and what's happened in his life with all the trauma. He's become this incredible tech tycoon, but his life is falling apart. My character kind of wheedles his way through the whole film with a little thread and needle and goes all the way through this film.
So, for you to bring that up and for me not to really be able to talk about it, but to let you know that I did research on trauma and early homes that possibly had a lot of trauma. So, I had to read a couple of books to try and get inside this Denver Kane's head.
MF: As you mentioned, your daughter is also in the movie. As a father, how proud were you to work with her and see that she is following in your footsteps?
KC: How great is that, right? I mean, this kid's been an actor her whole life. I stumbled into it in college. I took an acting class to meet some girls. I was going to be a history teacher. I didn't know what a soliloquy even meant. Brenna's been an actress since she's been 4 years old. This kid did it the right way. Theatre, theatre, theatre, theatre!
She went to NYU. She auditioned for the Tisch Acting Academy. She got in, she got her degree. She did a bunch of plays there. Then she did this play called “The Wolves” on Broadway. She won a Drama Desk Award. The New York Times called it one of the greatest plays of the last 25 years.
So, Brenna needs no help from her dad. Brenna has her own movie star thing waiting to happen. She's got two movies opening back to back, this one and another one called ‘Burden.’ She's got another couple of offers in the fall. She loves theatre, she loves movies, she loves TV, she loves it all. But I'm very proud to see her work, man. I stayed out of her way. But she's her own artistic, explosive girl. I’m just so proud of her, for sure.
MF: Looking back at your career, you had an amazing scene with Bruce Willis in ‘The Last Boy Scout.’ In the scene, you punch him in the face and shout, “Boomba Baby!” Was that line improvised of scripted, and what are your memories of working with Bruce Willis?
KC: Yeah, that was mine. “Boomba Baby!” That was all me. Look, Bruce Willis was my first really big movie star. I'd worked with Dean Stockwell, and Kim Cattrall, but ‘The Last Boy Scout’ was my very first Hollywood movie in 1991. The late Tony Scott, I'm so sad that he's gone, but he cast me right away.
I just got to tell you about that scene. Because I've been told they show that cigarette scene in all these acting classes. It's always prefaced by “How to steal a scene from the movie star.” I got to know Bruce a little bit. Then I got to know him more on ‘Hostage.’ Then I got to know him more by hanging out with him. He's got a lot going on right now, that poor guy, but I love him, and I always will love him. I've got nothing but good thing to say about Bruce Willis.
MF: Finally, can you talk about your ‘Sons of Anarchy’ experience? What was it like reprising your character on ‘Mayans M.C.’ and have you stayed close with the other cast members since the series ended?
KC: Yeah, we really have. I think it's an anomaly. I think it's a one-off. I think of those seven years on ‘Sons’ and how did we still love one another? It was a very volatile, weird, dark, and beautiful time. That show got more and more violent as it went along. But those seven years were amazing.
I'm going to see Charlie (Hunnam) coming up in a few days here. I see Theo (Rossi) all the time. Tommy Flanagan, Mark Boone Junior, Ryan Hurst, Ron Perlman, I'm best friend with them, I mean, we hang out all the time. So, you know what? I don't know how that happened, but it did.
To do the ‘Mayans’ and to play Tig again after like eight years, it was great. I still have my bike outside. I had such a terrific time on that show. The best.