Sons of Anarchy’s Kim Coates the baddest of the boys, interview

FX’s Sons of Anarchy is a modern-day Shakespearean-influenced tale of brothers on bikes, a celebration of belonging to a premier MC for a group of men who care not for the grid.  It’s a family, way of life and a bit of a rock-star existence for our SAMCRO crew.

Showrunner Kurt Sutter has immersed us in a world where men live on simple terms with an elastic sense of the law as they artfully navigate around it. 

Katey Sagal is the alpha female Sun to the male planets who orbit her, and as season two progresses, we see how very tough and smart she is. 

The series features eleven distinct leads, and the most interesting characters of SAMCRO for me are the badass outlaws, lead by character actor Kim Coates. Even with this season’s Henry Rollins’ sociopathic separatist A.J. Weston nipping on his heels, Coates turns in a tour de force each episode as Alex ‘Tig’ Trager, the baddest of the bad boys on television right now.

A moment of praise for our really bad boys of television.  I’m not talking Sylar of “Heroes” bad; Zachary Quinto is far too self conscious to let himself go there.
I am talking Ralph Cifaretto (Joe Pantoliano) “Sopranos” bad, really awful psychopathically dangerous “can’t take your eyes off them” bad boys. 

Coates takes his Tig “there,” but he meters it with the right twinkle in his eye, with a timing of line delivery and subtlety of expression that makes him head and shoulders one of the most watchable characters in Sutter’s posse of players. Even if he did have his way with a farm animal or two back in Oregon.

“I’m very careful with my bad boys,” shared Coates, who took time out of filming Sons of Anarchy to talk to me about his character.

Coates is a son of Canada, who came down our way and has become an American citizen.  He even roots for the Detroit Red Wings, his favorite hockey team. “It’s like Canadian law or something when you’re born; you’re handed a hockey stick where I’m from in Saskatoon, but just a few blocks from where I grew up, Gordie Howe was born, and I’ve been a Detroit fan since I was a kid.”

Coates cut his teeth on interesting roles where his exotic dark haired, blue-eyed Caucasian look was used to cast him in a variety of roles.

Kim’s film career began in 1991 with The Last Boy Scout. Two Warner Brothers’ hits followed: Innocent Blood and The Client. Since that time he has starred in over forty films, including Academy Award winners Black Hawk Down directed by Ridley Scott, and Pearl Harbor directed by Michael Bay. Other films include Waterworld and Open Range with Kevin Costner, The Island opposite Ewan McGregor, Grilled with Ray Romano, Silent Hill opposite Sean Bean, Hostage with Bruce Willis, Assault on Precinct 13, Unforgettable, Skinwalkers, and Hollywood North.

“I’ve been cast as Mexicans, Italians, Arabs, you name it.  My father’s background is a blend of Scottish, English and Irish, and my mother’s is German stock. Yeah, I see the ‘steely blue eyes’ comments a lot, but I don’t think of it too much, but that combination has worked to my advantage as a character actor.  I love that people know my work, I’ve worked my whole life very hard to get here.”

When asked about how season two was shaping up for “Sons of Anarchy,” and especially Tig, Coates noted his conversation with Kurt Sutter. “Kurt pulled me aside before we started shooting,” Kim said. “He told me that it was going to be a funny year for him, that he had kind of lost his ‘mojo’ and was in a bad place over the thing with Donna.”

“Initially, you know, (Ron) Perlman and I were late cast additions to the series, and the shaping of Tig was a process, I had to trust Kurt that, well, I am very careful with my bad boys, and I wanted to strike the right balance of humor with his tough as nails attitude, he’s a psychopath!  A lot of the stuff he does is sick, but interesting to watch.  But I wanted Tig to also have heart, but the Donna thing of course was wrong on so many levels, and Tig this season really has a hard time with it…he’s lost his way a little.”

“This year I think Kurt has really figured Tig out, it’s something, he’s writing for eleven leads, and we each want to have our time to show the characters.”

Coates shared some insight into his Sergeant-at-Arms of SAMCRO. “Tig is a hedonist; he has no boundaries, and the things that he does shocks the Kim Coates “me”, especially the dead girl stuff, that freaks me out.  But even in those horrific scenes, he always has a twinkle in his eye.”

Kim shared the last four episodes were going to really shock SOA fans, and that his character was deeply troubled. “He’s really having a hard time with it, it’s haunting him… you’ll be amazed by what happens in these last four episodes.”

Curious to know if the cast and Kim had become proficient in riding motorcycles, Kim cleared up the mystery. “Boone and I were riders, we had bikes and knew how to hndle bikes, but the rest of the guys have come along and really learned how to handle their ride. What’s really cool is the guys up at Eagle’s Nest gave us Harleys, through an FX-Eagles Nest deal, I have an amazing street bike.  All of us did the whole signing autographs and taking pictures with the fans up there, and over 7,000 motorcycle guys were there, the experience was just phenomenal.”

“Sons of Anarchy” airs Tuesdays on FX at 10 PM.


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