Alfred Hitchcock’s film “Psycho” introduced the world to the now-iconic mother-and-son duo of Norma and Norman Bates over 50 years ago. But it was last year that the pair got a closer look as two of the latest characters joined the transition from film to television in the A&E original series “Bates Motel.”
The series begins following Norma and Norman, played by Vera Farmiga and Freddie Highmore, respectively, shortly after the sudden death of Norman’s father. This season could eventually lead to the events of the original film, but the main focus of the show has been developing the unusually close relationship between mother and son.
WSN spoke to Farmiga and Kerry Ehrin, the show’s executive producer, about the interesting plot and the show’s future.
“She’s the mother of all mothers,” Ehrin said of Norma. “She’s in an extreme situation. But like every mother I’ve ever known, [she] just [has] this passion for making everything okay for [her] kid.”
In exploring the Bates’ backstory, the first season introduced a new family member, Dylan Massett, Norma’s older son from a previous relationship, played by Max Thieriot. His distant and often tempestuous relationship with Norma provides a counterpoint to the closeness between Norma and Norman, while also providing the younger Bates with a close friend and ally.
Ehrin said the second season will further explore the relationship between Norma and Dylan.
“It’s the story of a lost son,” Ehrin said. “He has a longing for a family that he’s never had… and he’s very much dealing with that.”
This is not the only family dynamic that will be featured this season. “Bates Motel” will also bring in Norma’s brother, introducing another aspect of her mysterious and painful past.
Farmiga’s performance as Norma earned her a Golden Globe nomination this year. However, the actress credits her performance to her fellow actors.
“I just rely on my scene partners,” Farmiga said. “There are times, literally in a scene with Max [Thieriot], where I just forget to say my lines because I’m so enthralled with his performance that I’m watching him. And it’s like I’m just in awe. So it’s just trying to be present with them.”
Despite the audience knowing the ultimate end of the Bates’ story, Ehrin feels there is much more to discover within the characters’ relationship.
“There’s so much great story to go,” Ehrin said. “This is such an exciting show to work on because there’s something about the relationship with Norma and Norman that just keeps on giving.”
The second season of “Bates Motel” premiered Monday, March 3 on A&E.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, March 4 print edition. Nivea Serrao is a contributing writer. Email her at [email protected]