‘Bates Motel’ Stars Give An Inside Look At That Passionate Brawl

Fans of Bates Motel have probably been as frustrated as poor, old Norma Bates (Vera Farmiga) over the last three seasons, so it may be that the brawl between Mrs. Bates and Sheriff Alex Romero (Nestor Carbonell) was a long time coming, as well as a relief for all of that pent-up sexual tension.

Bates Motel fans might think that the brawl looked a little too real to have been entirely staged and, as it turns out, the fans are right. Ms. Farmiga confesses that her Bates Motel co-star was egging her on throughout filming, on and off camera, so that when the time came, Vera was quite motivated to land as many punches as she could get in.

When Mr. Carbonell laughed and said that he felt he was being battered by a little cat, Farmiga assured him that she was taking it easy on him for the sake of the Bates Motel scene.

“I could’ve thrown bonafide uppercuts. I actually am a boxer. And I was so tempted to. But Norma is not an experienced fighter. By the way, Nestor has the most amazing skin in the world. There was no rosacea.”

Normally, fight scenes are staged, carefully choreographed segments with special effects included to make the scenes look as authentic as possible, but the Bates Motel stars felt the situation called for the real deal. Ms. Farmiga in particular pointed out that these two characters are “positively ignited ions” and there needed to be a realistic release of their passion.

Nestor added that the initial attempt at that Bates Motel brawl scene was hesitant and more reserved than it should have been.

“You [Vera Farmiga] started slapping me in the beginning, but it felt like it needed to be more violent. And we talked about it and I said, ‘You can punch me. You can hit me in the face. Just make sure, if you do, you do it with these two knuckles because you can break my hand.'”

Anyone watching that Bates Motel episode knows that there was more to that scene than a strictly physical encounter. Emotions were running high between the characters, with the actors becoming equally caught up in the passion of the moment. At one point, Norma Bates screams “I hate you! I hate you!” and it seems that she could have used the word “love” just as easily.

Vera Farmiga nods at this suggestion, confessing that the outburst was ad libbed in the moment, mostly because her Bates Motel co-star was encouraging her to go deeper into the role.

Vera: [To Nestor] You were [pushing ]for an actual kiss, but I was so resistant. I didn’t want to cross that line.
Nestor: But my character had to go there.
Vera: I think that breathing-in is actually more electrifying than locking lips.

For fans wondering if this means Sheriff Romero will be playing a larger role in the Bates Motel saga, the Bates Motel showrunner Carlton Cuse assures fans that there will be a deeper look into the sheriff.

“We actually are going to learn more about Romero’s backstory this season and actually meet a very significant character from his life.”

Although the brawl on Bates Motel ultimately fizzled before that inevitable kiss could come to fruition, Cuse says that fans shouldn’t give up on that romance too easily.

“We feel like we have an epic couple with Norma and Romero. We plan to deliver on the promise of that at some point, in some form.”

The next episode of Bates Motel airs on Monday, May 11, on A&E.

[Featured image: Courtesy of Jesse Grant/Getty Images for A&E]