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Exclusive: Kim Coates Discusses Psychological-Thriller Neon Lights, Plus Stills and BTS

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Neon Lights opens with Kim Coates’ Denver Kane advising tech tycoon Clay Amani before an interview about his company. He vulgarly advises him not to mess it up, all while remaining charismatic and methodical. Clay is battling his mental health while on the verge of a hostile takeover and messes it up drastically. In an attempt to repair his life and at the suggestion of his therapist, he holds a family reunion on a posh estate in an isolated area. Kane attends the reunion, prowling the perimeter, as the crude and reluctant guests begin going missing and childhood traumas unfold.

Coates can be recognized for a number of remarkable projects, spanning from Black Hawk Down to Sons of Anarchy to Bad Blood and much more, but Neon Lights stands apart in delivering a more cerebrally daunting character of his who can’t be fully understood until the last minutes of the film. “I’ve never played the same guy twice. There’s always got to be something different, or I won’t do it… I’ve never played a guy like this before, and I’ve never been in a psychological thriller like this before,” said Coates.

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Alongside Coates in the cast are Dana Abraham, Brenna Coates, Brit MacRae, Erika Swayze, René Escobar Jr., Stephen Tracey, and Lauren Howe. “What Dana Abraham goes through as Clay Amani, as the human being and the actor in this movie, is something that people are going to keep talking about. It’s about mental health, and the drama and trauma of what his childhood was like, and what he has gone through,” said Coates.

Neon Lights is directed by Rouzbeh Heydari and written by Abraham. It’s rated R and set to release on demand and digital on July 12, 2022.

Each guest of the reunion is assigned individual rooms in the posh estate with varying neon lights illuminating within. The guests dismiss this as an idiosyncrasy of a tech genius on the fritz of sanity, or naively as a nod to the one guest who’s a club owner. These lights, despite attribution from characters, represent something much deeper.

“We all have the part of the brain where there are definite symbolism and real moments of color. Color can represent different things; red, pink, green, blue. For Dana Abraham playing Clay Amani, this tech tycoon who’s losing everything in front of him, trying to get his family back and reconcile at his estate, every room he opens has a color. For every person, his two brothers, the wife, the young kid, they all had their color. Their color represented something in his brain. That house was a real character,” explained Coates.

As for what each color means and how they, along with the setting and score, make up the backbone of the plot, viewers will need to tune in to find out more. “I can’t say much… but one of the reasons I wanted to do this movie was that the script was phenomenal. I had to read it three times before I figured out what was going on. It’s really convoluted and beautiful. It has Hitchcock-esque twists and turns, a psychological thriller/what the [expletive] is happening.”

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