Kim Coates and Theo Rossi on ‘Sons of Anarchy’ and Surviving the Past Six Seasons

Theo Rossi and Kim Coates Sons of Anarchy Interview
Theo Rossi as Juan Carlos ‘Juice’ Ortiz in ‘Sons of Anarchy’ (Photo by James Minchin/FX)

Tommy Flanagan, Mark Boone Jr, Drea de Matteo, and Dayton Callie took a more relaxed approach to discussing the final season of Sons of Anarchy at the 2014 San Diego Comic Con, but Theo Rossi and Kim Coates spoke passionately about the end of the FX series that has millions of viewers captivated and looking forward to season seven while dreading the show’s end. Rossi and Coates never anticipated their characters Juice and Tig would still be standing come season seven, however they’ve learned over the years to not even attempt to predict series creator Kurt Sutter’s next move.

Theo Rossi and Kim Coates Sons of Anarchy Interview

What can you say about Tig’s relationship with Venus this season?

Kim Coates: “This season coming up? I can’t say anything, but I will say that Sutter when he does write for him or for me, it’s some of the most amazing stuff. It’s tough to write for 10 leads all the time. It is, right? And we all support each other; we’re all a bunch of character actors who love one another. Giving Tig Venus or Venus Tig that he has in the past, it’s been such a joy for me to work with [Walton] Goggins. I mean, for him to shave his legs and getting ready and the accent, and wearing those high heel pumps – forget about it. He’s so amazing, she’s amazing. So I love it and I guess we’ll see what this season brings.”

We left Juice in a very precarious position. Can you walk us through the betrayal and what that leads us to this season?

Theo Rossi: “So obviously Juice has been battling with demons since season four, being on the opposite end of those strings, being pulled all the time. And like I just said recently, Juice is in a world that – if you think about it – he should never have been in at all. He should have been a comic book kid. He shouldn’t have been in a motorcycle club because he’s not cut out for it. And he makes himself cut out for it by doing all these violent acts and trying to make everything better. And when you see the ending, the last two episodes, he obviously ODs again because of the guilt and gets himself in the position of telling Nero to try and cleanse himself of anything, an admittance. And then that final episode which was just circumstantial…you know, Jax, he needed to go to the only person who he felt connected to since Clay’s gone and that was Gemma, because Gemma showed him compassion and love through the ODing. And then to be in that position of seeing Tara, killing Roosevelt, and to start this relationship with Gemma, this secret that’s the biggest secret ever in Charming – you know, our hero’s wife – and how that affects going into this final season, what Kurt did and what he’s doing is mesmerizing. It’s a pleasure to read and it’s even more of an honor to play. So, I’m really excited.

Obviously Gemma and Juice are, what did Ricky Ricardo used to say, ‘Lucy, you’re in trouble! You’ve got some explaining to do!’ Juice has got some explaining to do.”

Kim Coates: “[…]That’s part of the drama, right. That’s part of the drama. We all saw the final show of the season [last year], horrific, mesmerizing, can’t wait for this season but it’s like watching the greatest train wreck. You don’t want to watch but you have to. He’s in the middle of the train wreck. There’s no doubt. So we’ve got the club and we’ve got some secrets. So this is part of the final season and I’m telling you it’s crazy.”

Theo Rossi: “Like I say, season one – we all know the show perfectly, right? – Tig goes on orders to kill Opie and he kills Donna instead, and it’s this huge secret. That’s one of our biggest heroes in Opie and it’s his wife. And you say, ‘How will he ever get out of that? Tig’s obviously going to die. He has to.’ But he’s still sitting here, because the truth is you’re never going to guess what he’s going to do because no one has a mind like [Kurt] and no one is going to figure it out. Not another showrunner, not another writer, surely not us, because the truth is every time you try to guess, you’re wrong. And like I said to him, if him and I are sitting there in ’08 reading our first script and you tell me that Opie, Tara and Clay aren’t going to be sitting here in season seven when we’re in an interview or interviews, I would say you’re all nuts and you need to go back to wherever you came from because it’s just not true. And here we are. I stopped trying to guess a long time ago and I think that’s why everybody should just enjoy the final season. To say that about Juice, it’s just so interesting.”

Kim Coates: “I think if I may just to add to that, as characters, as actors there’s no time to reflect. You need to just keep going forward because [Kurt] is a crazy motherf*cker. Sutter, what goes on in here, we’ve stopped trying to guess – as Theo said – a long time ago. But every time we get a new script it’s like, ‘Jesus Christ!’ But there’s no time for the rear view mirror. It’s just, ‘Go! Go! Go!’ And I think it’s going to be a very sad time for the fans. They’re already sad that we’re coming to an end. But for him and me and the rest of these wonderful actors, we’re so in it right now. There’s no time to get reflective. But on October 29th, you bet – big bottle of Crown Royal for me. Coca cola and I will suck that whole thing back because it’s been the greatest ride ever for all of us, for many reasons.”

What was your initial reaction to reading the season finale script from last year?

Theo Rossi: “Shock. Shock, because we had heard and we knew about Maggie [Siff], about Tara, but we didn’t know how. What didn’t know what was going to occur with it. We didn’t know the fringe stuff that came with it. We didn’t know the fork. We didn’t know Roosevelt. We didn’t know the hiding of evidence. We didn’t know any of that. We know what we know, and then we don’t know how it actually happens. So shock, for sure shock.

Listen, when Opie died you go, ‘Oh my god, the show’s going to end at one point.’ It’s your first realization of this is not going to run forever. This isn’t Gunsmoke. We’re not going to be doing this for 25 seasons. We’re eventually all kind of going down. And then, you read the finale and you go, ‘How do you even do another season?’ Clay had just gone and all these things had occurred that were happening, and here we are. It’s really a testament to the world that Kurt’s created and it’s a testament to the actors, the writing, everything, that it just keeps going.”

Kim Coates and Theo Rossi Sons of Anarchy Interview
Kim Coates as Alex ‘Tig’ Trager in ‘Sons of Anarchy’ (Photo by Prashant Gupta/FX)

Kim Coates: “100%. For Kurt Sutter to give Maggie and Charlie [Hunnam] what he did in that final episode, sitting at that picnic table…Do you understand? Seven years they’d been together. I almost want to start crying now. To know that it’s over, it’s done, but you’re acting it. There’s no acting required. Those two kids at those picnic tables with the f*cking Sons in the back with the kids, are they going to wipe her out right now by this tree? No. It keeps going on and on. And Katey [Sagal] when she did the read-through, she was crying. It’s so emotional, this show, and so unbelievably epic on so many levels of family drama that we keep talking about. It’s shocking. It’s amazing.”

Theo Rossi: “And we’re a family so for us it’s like… The reason why everybody loves this show, yes, the writing, yes, the acting, yes, Kim’s good looks. But the truth is, obviously, I mean the baby blues – these are all bonuses – but the truth is is because we all truly love each other. And more than anything, we respect each other. We love each other’s work from the writing to the guy in craft service to the people working the office, and that is unheard of in television and Hollywood. People are just usually, like the second they call ‘cut’ they’re on their phone. They walk away with their handlers or whatever people have. I don’t even know. Where we are hanging out. We just hang out all the time because we enjoy each other and we appreciate each other. I’ve known Kim’s work since he’s been doing movies since 1926…”

Kim Coates: “I look very good for my age.”

Theo Rossi: “And I love everything he’s ever been in, so that’s a huge part of it.”

-By Rebecca Murray

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