ComingSoon spoke to Neon Lights star Kim Coates about starring in the thriller, which is out today on demand and digital. The Sons of Anarchy actor also discussed working with Dana Abraham, getting to be in the same film as his daughter, Brenna Coates, and more.

“Tech tycoon, Clay Amani, retreats to an off-the-grid location in search of meaning and peace, with disconnected siblings and their offspring, only to be caught in a bone-chilling killing spree within his new estate,” reads the film’s synopsis.

RELATED: Exclusive Neon Lights Key Art & Set Images Preview Dana Abraham’s Horror Thriller



Dana Abraham’s character is losing his mind. You’re giving him advice and guidance in the background. What really attracted you to this role of Denver?

Kim Coates: I’ve done so much. I feel like I’m 120 years old now. I’ve done so many movies and so much TV and so much stage that when little scripts like this come across your desk, and [are] sent to you by your people and they go, “you’re not going to want to do it, but it’s kind of cool writing” and you read it. And the pandemic had just started it’s 2020. It was like September or October 2020, maybe August. And this was one of the very first films back during the pandemic, bro. Film and television was doing it right. We were all wearing masks and getting COVID tested every day. This was before the vaccines were available. No one wanted to get sick, that’s for sure. This story, I never read anything like it, to tell you the honest truth, Tyler.

The mental health aspect of this story… Yes, it’s very Hitchcock. Yes, it’s a psychological thriller. Yes, it’s a bit horror. Yes, it’s a bit fucking crazy. But it’s the mental health aspect of this kid, Dana Abraham, who plays Clay Amani … his character and what he went through as a young man, as a boy from this foster home to becoming this massive tycoon, hit tech giant to then … at the beginning of the movie, he loses everything, everything! And he’s losing his mind. And he goes to a psychiatrist. played by my daughter, Brenna Coates, wow amazing was she, right? I mean, that fucking kid was so good. Brenna, I’m so proud of her, such a great actor — and he’s sitting in that office and then we go on this ride with Dana. We go into his mind and we go on this ride and we don’t know … is it real? Is it in his head?

Is it real? Is it this? And my character of Denver is intertwined like a needle in a thread all the way through the movie. And I’m looking, I’m observing, I’m talking to him. [I] got a couple of other scenes with Brit [MacRae, who plays Clarissa] and my daughter. And I’m telling you, I can’t say much about the character. You’ve seen the movie and you know why — people need to watch this movie in the theater, on their couch with a whiskey and popcorn, because it’s a crazy ending. It’s a crazy story. And it really is engulfed in mental health, which should be at the forefront of everyone’s plate these days.

You spoke about your daughter in the film and she’s great in it. How exciting is it getting to see her really come into her own as an actress?

Yeah, it’s really great, man. The funny thing is, she’s been the real actor. She’s the real Coates actor from day one. I stumbled into it, Tyler, I was at College/University and I took an acting class for fun. I was going to be a history teacher and didn’t even know what a soliloquy was. And then 25 plays later, and then Toronto, and here is this Kim Coates guy, and my daughter’s born, boom! The older one Kyla, Brenna’s oldest sister. She’s a rock star right here in L.A., working with L.A. county and still trying to save America, God bless her. But Brenna went to NYU, auditioned to get in, and got in Tisch Acting Academy, she’s a star at the school. She got into this play called The Wolves, which started at Poughkeepsie. Then the Duke Theater then went to Lincoln Center.

She’s won a Dora award and a Drama Desk Award for her acting in The Wolves. One of the greatest plays, the New York Times said, in the past 25 years. So I’m pretty proud of Brenna and all the theater she’s done and all the movies she’s done. And she’s got this one coming out with her dad, which is kind of cool. She’s got another one called Burden, which opens next week as well. She’s the female lead of that film, and she’s got a couple of offers coming up this fall as well. So yes. It’s exciting to watch your kid do so well.

RELATED: Exclusive Neon Lights Clip Previews Intense Thriller Starring Kim Coates

What’s that like? Because you have to kind of find this balance as a father all the time, but how do you manage giving her advice and kind of just letting her have her own career?

Tyler, I don’t give her advice anymore, man! I mean, are you kidding? She’s young like you she’s 28. She’s on her own path now. And does she love her father? Yeah, she does. Is she proud of her old man? I think she is, but I’m her biggest fan. And she’ll come to me sometimes with a question about the business or someone said this, what does it mean? Or dad, what would you have done in this situation? But nah, she’s her own acting machine now and it’s really exciting to watch.

So much of this film revolves around that relationship between you and Dana, and you guys share some really powerful moments. How was it like having him as the scene partner?

How good was this guy? I mean, Tyler, he reminded me of a young me. Like my character in Waterworld, like that wacky homeless on the ocean, wacky … I mean, Dana had this incredible ease with his nervousness, his little laughter, his being completely devastated from his growing up days with his dad at home and what it all meant now as he’s a young adult. And we get to live his life through the movie, and it’s so hard to watch at times, but to be with him and Rouzbeh Heydari, the director … I mean, I’m the kind of actor, Tyler … you probably know this about me, you’ve seen enough of my work. I learned them and then I forget them.

You can’t be real if you are doing the lines the way the line … you can’t, that’s not acting, you’ll get picked out. I don’t know what I’m going to say to you right now. You don’t know what you’re going to say to me right now, so you’ve got to know it and then you got to let it go. And Dana and I, we let it all go. I came up with that “always and forever and always and forever,” that was just something that just came out on one of the takes. Then we loved it so much, we used it through the whole film. “You’re my favorite. You’re my favorite.” That was also just a line that Kim Coates came up with that seemed to fit Denver Kane, who I played. So yeah, I’ll do a million movies with Dana. He’s that good.

You’ve had such a celebrated career, as you mentioned, and one of your earliest roles was a gang member in Miami Vice. Do you remember that role? It’s pretty funny that you’re even getting biker gang roles back then.

No, come on. Think about that. Miami Vice … what was it? Bikers from Hell, yeah! [It] was like Viking Bikers from Hell, or something like that. Yeah. Don Johnson, man. He cracked my head open. I had stitches. I never left the set. They put one of those band-aid things on the back of my head. I wasn’t going to get pushed around by Don Johnson. He was a star. I just had a little guest star, but I got my first 01 Visa on that show. I’m a proud Canadian boy. I’m both now, I have both passports obviously, but yeah, man, I was just a little Canadian guy who came right up from Stratford and got cast in Miami Vice right away. And then all the theater and the Broadway and The Last Boy Scout, it just went on and on and on from there.

You got to return as Tig in Mayans M.C.. What was it like revisiting that character after so many years away?

Yeah, it was pretty awesome, right? I mean, to have them come back to me to want to put a little icing on that final show of the fourth season … all I said to Elgin James — the showrunner, Kurt Sutter’s gone now, it’s all Elgin and such a beautiful man — I said to him on the phone … they obviously gave me an offer I couldn’t refuse, but it was all about the writing really. I said, “make sure you write for Tig. I can’t just come and have one little stupid, little breaking up a fight.” I needed something. I needed something. The two scenes that he wrote were so freaking good, so creepy and funny and violent — that first one in the hospital. And then a seven-minute-r with Emilio Rivera? My bro, my brother, two old warriors talking about the good old days and what the future could bring? Smoking a smoke? I was just really, really happy to be asked back. And it was strange as hell, really strange.

Black Hawk Down recently turned 20, which is crazy. What’s it like when you see your art persevering and still significant decades later?

That’s a really nice question and observation. I really mean that, thank you for saying that, Tyler. I have so many good, fond memories of Sam Shepard and Ridley Scott, who directed it, and Sam’s gone now, but I played golf with him five times and Billy [William] Fichtner and Eric Bana and I became best mates, Ewan McGregor, best mates. Tom Hardy, one of his very first films. You look at the names — Orlando Bloom — you look at some of the names on that show and how it was the first or second show for some of these young guys, and the amount of quality and, and how it’s so revered, and the Oscars that we won. Again, it’s a movie about war and we’re now … the whole Russia bullshit, and it just never stops. It seems war never stops. And so to be a part of that, that movie that was celebrated for what it said on that day for the Americans and demo Mogadishuns was … I’m really, really happy I got to do that film. It was something I’ll never forget.



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