Please note: Sons of Anarchy spoilers abound in this interview with Kim Coates up through last night’s episode, “Poor Little Lambs.”
Lots of crazy shiz went down on this week’s Sons of Anarchy. Marilyn Manson’s white-supremacist inmate revealed his love of dogs. Courtney Love made her debut as Abel’s seemingly kindly preschool teacher. Asian gang-bangers blew away Kim Dickens’s madam, Colette Jane (bringing new meaning to the title of Dickens’s new movie, Gone Girl). But the most unexpected twist may have been the tender kiss between hair-trigger SAMCRO member Tig Trager (Kim Coates) — who’d been gut-shot — and transgender prostitute Venus Van Dam (Walton Goggins). Coates spilled the secrets behind the lip lock to Vulture.
Were you surprised when you found out Tig and Venus were going to kiss?
Listen, Tig met Venus Van Dam in season five after losing his daughter and being so lost on so many levels. When Venus came on the scene — transgender, gorgeous, weird, wacky, freaky — Tig reveled in the whole aura of who this person was. We saw them getting a little closer in season six, but this year, all the gloves are off, man. I’ve never done stuff like this onstage or in real life, so I’m just tickled when [Kurt] Sutter gives me such great shit. There’s never enough Tig in the show, so when there is, I’m biased, but I think he gives me the best stuff. Tig’s so well-rounded. He’s a big underdog supporter — whether you’re transgender or a dog or Chucky being thrown to the Chinese — he feels for the underdog, and he will kill people to protect them. And I just love that about Tig.
What was it like shooting the kiss with Walton? Is it any different than shooting a kissing scene with a female co-star?
Yeah, man, it was way different. Tig’s all shot up, and it looks like he might bleed to death, and all he asks for is, “Get Venus.” I mean, how sweet is that? They have a connection now, and he’s not afraid to show that connection to anyone in the club, anyone in the world. He’s a total 100 percent real man. That was a wild day. All the boys watched on the monitor and said, “That’s the sweetest thing I’ve ever seen.” We give it up for each other all the time, and that’s one of those moments where it could have gone silly or non-supportive, but we support each other. That was a big moment for Tig and Venus. It was a really sweet day all around.
Did you talk it over with Walton beforehand?
No, that’s not how I work and not how he works. That’s the great thing about Walton Goggins. Of course we rehearsed the scene a little, but I never know what I’m going to do, and I don’t think she does, either. That’s what’s so beautiful. We didn’t know where or how, or am I going to bring her to me or me to her. We didn’t want to plan it. So we just felt it.
Did you feel closer to Walton after the scene was over?
No. We’re both heterosexual men and big supporters of the transgender world. I support them 100,000 percent. Did we feel closer? We’re already pretty close. He’s got a son, I’ve got two daughters, we’re happily married guys, and this is acting. This is 100 percent throwing yourself into it and not being afraid to fail. We did it twice and we got it. We looked at each other and said, “I’m good.” And we moved on.
Will the romance continue to blossom from here?
Venus will come back again this year. You can see the relationship growing. It’s going to be really funky to see what people think.
Will this create tension with his SAMCRO brothers?
Fuck, no. I don’t say this lightly, but I think Tig is the biggest motherfucking man of anybody. Of course the boys accept it. Would they put themselves in Tig’s shoes? Maybe not. Would they run for the hills? Maybe. But you just need to keep watching what happens. I’m not afraid of any reaction: good, bad, “I’m never going to watch it again,” or “Can they get married now?” I’m just so open to it all, because I trust Sutter and his instincts for the show.
Are you shocked Tig is still alive on the show? I thought he’d be dead by now.
How many times should he have been under the bus? Everyone’s saying he’s a cat with nine lives. That’s pretty true. Every season he should’ve been gone, but he’s obviously a survivor, and Sutter doesn’t want to lose him. That’s all I can say.
What’s it been like shooting the final season?
With a show like this that has been so epically received by the world, the fans are feeling it the most, knowing this is the final ride. For us, on set, it’s so dramatic right now. It’s so heavy. It’s just so fucked up. I don’t know what the hell Sutter’s doing, but it’s epically sad. We’re in it, so you and I need to have this question answered on November 1, when we’re done filming. It hasn’t hit us yet. But it will. And when it does, it’s going to be a very sad day.
Your first TV role was in the 1987 “Viking Bikers From Hell” episode of Miami Vice. Did you ride a motorcycle in it?
No, I didn’t. That was my first job in America after I came from Canada. I got my SAG card, and after I paid for my lawyers and my visa, I made about 18 bucks, but it was the greatest 18 bucks I ever made. I had a few little scenes in a bar with Don Johnson and his partner, but I didn’t ride a bike.
Were you a bad guy?
Oh, yeah. Sure. Badder than bad.
Do people sometimes still expect you to be a woman based on your first name?
It’s funny, back in the early days of my career, people would pick me up in airports and the limo driver would be there with a sign, “KIM COATES.” I’d walk right up to them and they’d look around me, expecting a chick. I’d be like, “No, it’s me. I’m Kim.” And they would be floored. Well, now everyone knows who I am, so it’s all cool.
Any chance your Entourage character, suicidal producer Carl Ertz, will come back from the dead for the movie?
No, I don’t think so. I’m dead, man. Unless there’s a flashback ghost sequence, I don’t think I’m making the movie.
Are people surprised when they find out you’ve been married for 30 years and have two grown daughters?
I don’t know. I don’t do the club scene, dude. You’re not going to see me doing cocaine in a bathroom. It’s just not gonna happen. I stay to myself, and I’m proud of that. I’m a tough guy, and I’m far from perfect, but I have been married an awful long time, and I have two beautiful girls. I love everything my life has brought to me. I worked very hard for it.