Published On: Fri, Jul 8th, 2016

Carlton Cuse, Kerry Ehrin on adapting ‘Psycho’ and Freddie Highmore’s ‘Bates Motel’ season 4 episode

Less than hour outside of downtown Vancouver, the fourth season of Bates Motel is underway and Deadline made a set visit to explore more of the behind-the-scenes affairs with the cast and creators: production designer Mark Freeborn, showrunners Carlton Cuse and Kerry Ehrin.

The show is a Psycho prequel and the design is set against that layout, despite departing from the original film by setting their contemporary update in fictional White Pine Bay, Oregon, in order to capture “the misty, woodsy quality of the northwest” that is so suited to Norman’s gloomy world. Before the sets were built, “I think [the location] was an old sanitation dump,” Ehrin laughs. “And it just kind of grew out of the ground.”

Freddie Highmore and  Vera Farmiga

Freddie Highmore and Vera Farmiga

Ehrin is credited by Cuse with “putting pen to paper in the most beautiful way” and handling the day-to-day challenges of production. Cuse also runs the set of the NBC series, Colony, in Los Angeles, yet he humbly underplays the challenges involved. “I think a lot of successful people are busy people, and I look around the landscape and I’m doing about half as many episodes a season as Shonda Rhimes,” Cuse says.

The A&E series Bates Motel stars Freddie Highmore and Vera Farmiga as Norman and Norma Bates, one of the most dysfunctional mother-son pairings in the history of pop culture. Deadline’s visit was on the day of filming between Norman, Norma, and Sheriff Romero (Nestor Carbonell), Norma’s most recent love interest who finds himself the target of Norman’s aggression.

Highmore wrote the screenplay for this episode and notes, “Norman is very insightful in this fourth season. Perhaps better than anyone, he has this weird ability to see through the nuances that define every single character.”

The same can certainly be said of the actor, who Ehrin credits with bringing his significant understanding of character into the writers’ room.

His co-star, Farmiga says she would be terrified to enter into the domain of the writer.

“To actually take on the entire psychology, character by character… for a 24-year-old man to jump into the skin and the psyche of a 42-year-old woman, and the position she’s been in, takes a heck of a lot of balls and imagination and risk and empathy. It blows me away that he could do that,” she admits. “I’m not going to say that I wasn’t surprised. I was actually sweating it for him. He’s a kid. He’s a baby. And he did an outstanding job.”

Expect more Highmore writing in season 5 as Norman becomes…well, more Psycho.

Bates Motel season 5 promo poster

Bates Motel season 2 poster

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- Stephen is a contributor and writer on The Dispatch. Stephen is the founder and editor for the Steven Spielberg Fan Club website and contributes to pop culture stories on The Dispatch, especially upcoming movie news. Beginning in 2016, Stephen took the role of Managing Editor for the Tampa Dispatch.

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  1. Freddie Highmore to write more in ‘Bates Motel’ season 5 as he channels more Anthony Perkins - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] Carlton Cuse, Kerry Ehrin on adapting 'Psycho' and Freddie Highmore's 'Bates Mot… […]

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