Bates Motel co-creators Kerry Ehrin and Carlton Cuse have consistently kept the prequel story to Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho exciting and full of twists that even the most devout Hitchcock film buffs couldn’t have seen coming. Even so, the Bates Motel showrunners do stay faithful to the major plot points of Psycho and that includes incorporating familiar characters into their series, even if the Bates Motel versions of some of them aren’t quite what we expect. That seems to be the case with a newcomer to the series, pop sensation Rihanna, who plays an edgier new version of the all too familiar Marion Crane.
Bates Motel Bosses Talk Rihanna’s Version Of Marion Crane
One of the biggest curiosities of this season of Bates Motel centers on the casting of Rihanna as Marion Crane and, as Carlton Cuse explained to Vulture, it once seemed like an unattainable goal and an odd pairing. After all, Rihanna seems too successful to take the time to guest star on a moderately successful cable series. It might not have ever come to fruition, except for two factors working in Cuse’s favor.
When Alfred Hitchcock filmed Psycho, he deliberately chose a well-known Hollywood actress for the role (Janet Leigh), thinking that killing off the big lead at the start of the film would really throw audiences off. It worked and that ultimately contributed to Psycho’s success, but Carlton Cuse says that was only a happy coincidence in his decision to cast Rihanna as Marion.
Cuse had been reading a profile article of Rihanna in Vanity Fair and happened to come across a segment in which Rihanna mentions her love for Bates Motel. Carlton immediately called Ms. Ehrin and suggested they try to get the singer in to play the part of Marion Crane.
“Kerry loved the idea, so I made some calls. I was really expecting that the answer would be absolutely not, but it turns out she really was a big fan of the show,” says the Bates Motel boss. “When the idea was proposed to her, she was very excited about it. She stepped out of her concert tour to come to Vancouver and shoot.”
As fans are all soon to learn, Rhianna won’t be playing a faithful version of Marion Crane for Bates Motel. Cuse says the idea was to veer away from that because the show’s creators wanted their Marion to be “an empowered woman of 2017.” In order to do that, Carlton warns fans not to expect that classic Psycho shower scene.
“Rihanna really embraced our idea of redefining the character. That was the moment in which she said I’m all-in,” the Bates Motel showrunner says.
Bates Motel Drops A Bomb With A Same-Sex Twist
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While Bates Motel introduces the idea of Norman (Freddie Highmore) having same-sex relations, the show’s creators caution against concluding this as confirmation that Norman is gay. Speaking to TV Line, Kerry Ehrin revealed that this aspect of Norman’s sexuality stems from his existence as Mother and her needs as a woman, so it’s another aspect of Norman’s personality that allows him to seek out male sex partners.
The idea that Norman, as Mother, has been pursuing same-sex relations suggests that this recent encounter may not have been the first time, but Mr. Cuse is deliberately elusive in confirming anything about the Bates Motel character’s sexual history.
“We don’t define it. But we suggest that this is kind of what’s been happening in the couple of years that have passed since Norma has died.”
The fact that Norman knew where to go to find a male partner seems to suggest that the White Horse Bar may be a well-known gay bar in the area, but Ehrin says it’s not quite that easy to pigeonhole that particular Bates Motel establishment.
“It was very intentionally built to have an edgy vibe but not a scary vibe. There’s a sense that everybody is pretty cool there and that anything goes and that people all kind of knew each other,” says the Bates Motel boss. “There are probably all kinds of different things happening in that bar [Laughs]. It an open minded bar, let’s put it that way.”
The next episode of Bates Motel airs on March 27 on A&E.
[Featured Image by A&E]