Is Freddie Highmore from “Bates Motel” the same kid who was in “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”?
—Amber Gibson, Sioux Falls, Iowa
Yes. Highmore starred in two films with Johnny Depp as a child actor, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and “Finding Neverland.” But these days, the London-born actor is all grown up. He turned 21 in February and is looking for adult roles, like Norman Bates on the A&E prequel to the Alfred Hitchcock movie “Psycho.”
“I remember seeing ‘Psycho’ for the first time, I guess, when I was 13 or 14,” he says.
With the high body count on TV series these days, Highmore says one of the things he likes about playing Norman is he knows he is going to be around, while some of the other actors might have to worry about their character’s survival.
But on the serious side, he adds, “From a character-development point of view, it’s been fantastic because you have, as opposed to, say, an hour and a half or two hours [in a movie] in which your character goes on a journey, you have at least 10 episodes, and who knows after that? So you can work on a lot more subtleties and things don’t have to develop as quickly.”
Character development aside, Highmore is very aware he has big shoes to fill, as the majority of moviegoers remember Anthony Perkins in the role of the grownup Norman.
“If there is any pressure, [it is] to do as well as I can. It comes more from the character himself than by previous people who [have played him.] Of course, Anthony Perkins has done an iconic take. But the character of Norman Bates is also iconic. So I just want to do him justice and make sure that we get the best Norman that we can.”