The world of Bates Motel seems plagued by never-ending tragedy and sorrow. But what more can we expect from a reimagining of Alfred Hitchcock’s horror classic? With Season 5 poised to be the series’s final chapter, the stakes and the pressure seem to be higher than ever. Luckily, stars Vera Farmiga, Freddie Highmore, Max Thieriot, and Nestor Carbonell and showrunners Carlton Cuse and Kerry Ehrin were on hand to discuss what’s in store for the show’s final season. Here’s what we learned during our talk:
- One of the biggest reveals at Comic-Con was the casting of Rihanna in the iconic role of Marion Crane. But how did that come about? Cuse said it was all based on the fact that the singer had expressed her love for the show in a past interview. They called up her agent, followed up with a call to the singer, which quickly moved to negotiating and finalizing a deal. Ehrin expressed her excitement to work with Rihanna as an actress and is looking forward to seeing what she brings to the reimagined role.
It’s no secret that Highmore’s been dabbing into writing, having already contributed to the show last season with a twisted episode of his own. He revealed that he will not only be writing for the show again in Season 5 but he will also be directing, “I’m in the writers room—last week and this coming week as well—pitching out ideas for the arcs of the [episode] that I’m going to be writing,” he explained, “I’m going to be directing an episode too, and I’m very grateful to Carlton and Kerry for giving me that opportunity.”
- Carbonell says the possibility of him returning to direct a third episode is very high and he would love to continue doing that after the show ends. His passion is in writing but he loves having the ability to put a spin on episodes he directs. His post-production process was quite amazing as well when it came to his latest work. Carbonell revealed that he had to FaceTime Sarah Boyd—who is also a Bates editor—so they could collaborate in cutting a scene together while he was filming in Vancouver.
- Romero will still be reeling over his loss after the death of Norma, especially knowing that Norman is getting away with it. “I think he’s probably going to be struggling with a purpose to live, to move on, after baring his soul to this woman,” he said. It was a big deal for Romero to open up to her and he considers her the love of his life.
- The impact of Norma’s death took everyone by surprise and Carbonell was taken aback by how emotional it got when it came to filming that part. “As we were shooting the scene, even leading up to it, I saw a number of crew members crying,” he said. But he said it wasn’t too difficult to get into that mindset. The fact that he’d grown attached to Norma’s character throughout the years, made it a little easier for the effects of her loss to come naturally to him as an actor as opposed to having to prepare for it.
There never seems to be any happy endings in Bates Motel and that unfortunately might also be true for the show’s sweet couple of Dylan and Emma. Thieriot didn’t seem too optimistic when it came to the idea of them getting away unscathed. “Once things start getting good, they start getting bad again,” he said. “I assume that at some point Dylan will find out about his mom passing away and who killed her.” He also pointed out that it will be interesting to see how that affects him and his relationship with Emma. “I don’t think there could be a real fairytale happy ending for Dylan at this point. I think he’s going to have a lot of guilt for not always being there,” he said.
- Farmiga’s process varies greatly from Highmore’s when it comes to preparing for a scene. He likes to know way in advance what is coming up for his character, whereas she prefers not to know until the last minute. “I get overwhelmed because I’m not only playing a mom on TV, but I am a mom to two toddlers and it’s just too much.” She also said her emotional response to Norma’s death took her by surprise. “I have an on and off switch. I’m not a very sentimental person but I was slain,” she said of the scene, “I remember reading it and there was a period of shock and then there was grief. I wept for about half hour.”
- “Mother” will be fully fleshed out just as Norma was, and that in turn makes for a very wide range of possibilities. “They can pretty much do anything,” Farmiga said, “They already had me doing things that I would’ve never imagined—dancing, singing, playing piano—so they can really turn up the volume and get away with pretty much anything. I think it should be fun.” Highmore added that it will be very exciting to work on building a new relationship between Norman and the mother that he imagines.