Friday, January 4, 2013

Winter TCA 2013: A&E's Bates Motel

A&E’s presentation for Bates Motel took place during the lunch hour on the first day of the Winter 2013 TCA tour. Not only was the hallways leading toward the ballroom well decorated (complete with a replica of the “Bates Motel” sign) but the dining tables themselves were adorned with elaborate candelabras and the like. The meal in itself was great, offering everything from a smoked cheese salad to portabella ravioli, and we were treated to some midday wine as well.

Panelists included Executive Producers Carlton Cuse and Kerry Ehrin as well as actors Olivia Cooke, Vera Farmiga, Freddie Highmore, Nicola Peltz, and Max Thieriot. Having seen the pilot, I was confused over who Thieriot was, but he plays Dylan, the older brother of Norman who no longer lives with the family. We do hear his voice in the first couple of episodes, but allegedly he will appear in the future. As the series is a prequel to the classic film Psycho, much of the discussion revolved around how the drama will work as such. Designed to give viewers “an intimate portrayal of how Norman Bates’ psyche unravels through his teenage years,” Bates Motel is quite creepy from the start. Look for it beginning Monday, March 18th at 10pm. Here are a few highlights from the presentation:

Photo by Joe Lederer
To be clear, Cuse stated that the prequel was inspired by Psycho and is not an homage to Psycho. The movies are also not canon for this show. He also mentioned that the show is very serialized, and the unpredictability of characters is really fascinating as a storyteller.

Filming in Vancouver has given the show gloomy weather as a tone, as well as the ability to utilize a lot of different looks in the area. 

In the beginning, Farmiga felt that she wanted to defend who Norma Bates was, because, to her, the story reads as a beautiful love letter from a mother to her son. Ehrin expounds that the basis for Norma/Norman’s relationship is oedipal. 

Highmore, whom you may remember as the title character in 2005’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, is working in television for the first time in his career. When asked about the switch, he noted that television lets you work on a lot more subtleties to a character.
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