A&E’s Bates Motel gang was still riding high on star Vera Farmiga‘s Best Actress Emmy nomination Saturday morning at Comic-Con, where Farmiga explained her approach to playing the mother of Hitchcock’s most famous psycho. “I Googled ‘parents of psychopaths,” she said. “That’s where my compassion for the character comes from. She’s incredibly flawed, she comes with an incredibly warped history and a lot of pain that she’s damming up. But in her defense, she’s the mother of a child with mental issues. There’s no way that a parent can say my child has a mental illness without their spirit imploding. So I always approach Norma with a great sense of compassion and reverence.”
The drama series’ panel opened with a pre-filmed bit of fun with a gag video featuring Freddie Highmore as himself visiting the Bates Motel writers room; there he finds that all screen time and ads are devoted to Farmiga and takes over the Universal Studios Psycho tram stop as the Norman Bates persona seeps into his identity. Highmore joined Farmiga, Nestor Carbonell, Olivia Cooke, Max Thierot and EPs Carlton Cuse and Kerry Ehrin to talk up the modern-day Psycho prequel/reimagining. The show returns for its sophomore season next year, when Cuse teased romances on the horizon for Norma and Norman. “And not with each other, OK?” joked Cuse. “Not yet.” The hint of incest between the pair remains ambiguous. “It’s just a form of Norma’s holding therapy,” said Farmiga. “Every mother in the audience will tell you they grow up so quickly you’ve got to slather it on while you can.” Another member of the Bates family could add another complex relationship to the show soon. “We made reference to Norma’s brother last season,” teased Cuse. “That character might show up this season.”
With its first season in the bag — and one of the EPs of the meandering LOST at the helm — the Bates Motel end game is still TBD. “I don’t think we’re doing 14 years of Bates Motel,” Cuse said. A road map has yet to be established for how long the Norman Bates prequel saga will take to tell. “We’ll tell the story as best we can in the right amount of time. I think the same was true on LOST, around the third season we figured it out. Soon we’ll figure out how long [Bates Motel] is going to last.”
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