|Who is it?||Production Designer, Art Director, Art Department|
The son of two Abilene Christian University professors of education, Drs. Ed and Jane Coates, Nelson Coates became interested in the arts from a young age, creating costumes and scenery for school and community productions. He learned to create sculptures from natural fibers with the help of a book his parents gave him when he was 14. He began acting in regional theater at the age of 6. He continued to perform in regional theater and sang with various vocal groups. During high school, he became involved in gymnastics, a skill set he used years later when planning escape routes for Wesley Snipes' character in Murder at 1600. Coates went on to attend the college where his parents taught, changing majors from pre-med to mass communications and graduating magna cum laude with a B.A. in journalism/mass communications with an emphasis in design. Coates has acted in and designed for numerous theaters throughout the United States. While in college, Coates was a part of the acting company of the Dallas Shakespeare Festival, where he met Morgan Freeman. Coates later designed Kiss the Girls and Thick as Thieves, both of which star Freeman.
After graduating from college, Coates moved to the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex, where he exhibited his sculptures, acted in regional theater and television, and began his career in theatrical and feature film design.
Coates’ other notable credits include Big Miracle, the first studio feature to film entirely in Alaska; The Proposal, for which Coates this time made a Boston-area home stand in for Alaska; Antwone Fisher, Denzel Washington’s directing debut and one of AFI’s Top 10 Films of the Year; The Last Song, starring Miley Cyrus; and the Miley Cyrus music video "When I Look at You."