Freddie Highmore, the star of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The Spiderwick Chronicles, has been tapped to portray the psychotic Norman Bates in A&E’s Bates Motel, according to Digital Spy. The young actor, who cut his teeth in the business by starring in no less than two movies with Johnny Depp, will tackle the role in a television program that explores the deranged motel manager’s younger years.
The series, which essentially serves as a prequel to director Alfred Hitchcock’s suspense classic Psycho, will tackle the dysfunctional relationship that exists between Norman and his overbearing mother (Vera Farmiga). In addition to allowing the young actor to stretch his legs a bit, the show will serve as his series debut in the United States.
However, Freddie Highmore isn’t the only talent to be recently added to the show’s ever-expanding cast. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Kit Kittredge: An American Girl co-star Max Thieriot has signed on to portray Norman’s older brother. Sources have reported that the character will be of the James Dean variety, though it’s still too early to know if he’ll be just as crazy as his younger sibling.
Bates Motel is being developed by Carlton Cuse and Kerry Ehrin, two individuals who know a thing or two about developing well-received television shows. Cuse, for example, worked for years on the hit ABC drama Lost, while Ehrin spent a fair amount of time with the small screen version of Friday Night Lights. Apparently the pair know what they’re doing with Bates Motel; instead of ordering a pilot, A&E has already requested an entire season.
Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 horror/mystery Psycho introduced the world to the demented mindscape of Norman Bates, portrayed by Anthony Perkins. The film reportedly horrified audiences upon its release, and made people extremely wary of taking showers at strange motels. Bates Motel will explore the events which led to Norman’s seriously unstable adulthood.