Relationship with her on-screen son Norman in Bates Motel

Vera Farmiga has a complex relationship with her on-screen son Norman in Bates Motel

In Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 masterpiece Psycho we met the infamous Norman Bates, oppressed son, psychopath and serial killer. In 2013, the television prequel, Bates Motel, constructed around Bates’ early life, and in particular his mother, Norma (Vera Farmiga), a woman hitherto met as a skeleton in the attic, but now in the full bloom of her life.

That relationship – a mother’s obsessive love for her son, and a son’s love/hate relationship with his mother – forms the psychological spine of Bates Motel.

Farmiga describes it as a swinging pendulum, stretching from an almost uncomfortable affection, to a powerful sense of betrayal.

“Norman is at that very precarious stage of adolescence where he’s figuring out what it is to become a man,” Farmiga says. “And he’s being raised by a single mother. There’s a draw to his mother, but a simultaneous [push away]. And I think what you’re going to be seeing is quite a bit of that.

“You’re going to see the most extreme closeness and tenderness, to the point of such uncomfortable closeness between them, and then, sort of, the opposite pendulum swing of complete almost alienation and betrayal.
“But I think [also] they’re just trying to find their footing.”

Our conversation touches on a range of emotions, and Farmiga uses words like “inevitable” and “demise”. To some extent, history is written for both Norma and Norman; the events of Hitchcock’s original film serve as a sort of epilogue to Bates Motel. Though Farmiga does not feel hemmed in by the fate demanded by the larger historical work.

“I don’t get trapped in that … my only mission is to have you guys, the audience, whoever is receiving our story, to really root for them both,” Farmiga says. “The task at hand for me really is to present to you a mother in all her righteousness and her manipulation.”

And to that end, Farmiga believes Norma is a committed mother, even if the fine print of the story suggests otherwise. “Everything that she thinks she is doing, is saying, [is] I’m doing the best that I can to make my son better, to fix him. And, you know, she comes from the heart in what she thinks is the right thing to do.

“She’s this, you know, mother lion.”

Bates Motel also makes rather ambitious observations about the modern world; Farmiga sees it as a work which explores the struggle of parents with their children, where responsibility sits, and how children are fashioned into adults.

“What is so vital about our story I think, especially now in the age of Dylan Klebold​ [who, with Eric Harris, killed 13 people and injured 24 others, in the Columbine High School massacre], is that we, as parents, are really struggling with our children,” Farmiga says.

“They’re growing up in such a violent world, and such a dark place. And I think this is a show that really considers your responsibility as a parent and, in that examination of parent/children relationships, how we, in fact, are responsible, somewhat.

“There’s biochemistry, there’s a neat personality, but then there’s, you know, how do we sculpt them, how do we mould them, do we hurt them, do we help them, how do we make our kids better, how do we prepare them, how do we hone them, how do we love them into the best possible version of themselves.”

The show’s second season also saw the arrival of Caleb Calhoun, played by Kenny Johnson. Calhoun, who is Norma’s estranged older brother, was part of her violent upbringing, a context which exposed a different aspect of Norma’s personality.

Johnson, Farmiga says, is a “one in a million”. “I think it’s very tricky to do what is demanded of him in this role. He can make you feel such great empathy for the character. I think this is what’s so masterful about [Bates Motel] is that we tread these really murky lines where you teeter over a little bit in this area, and it’s just profane.

“The balancing act is quite tricky, tonally, to achieve, because you want to hate Caleb, you want to judge him, and yet he’s quite loveable in this. It’s really odd, but fascinating to watch.”

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald Australia

Bates Motel Season 3 Opens its Doors for Blu-ray on October 13

Young Norman Bates strides ever so closer to embracing the “psycho” he’s destined to become in Season 3 of A&E’s Bates Motel. Fear not if you missed the latest season on TV as Universal Studios Home Entertainment has set an October 13 release date for the Bates Motel Season 3 Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD release.
Bates Motel Season 3 stars Vera Farmiga, Freddie Highmore, Max Theriot, Olivia Cooke and Nestor Campbell, with Nicola Peltz returning as Bradley Martin for a Season 3 arc. A&E has already renewed Bates Motel for Seasons 4 and 5 so there’s a lot more of Norman Bates and his possessive mother to come.
The Blu-ray and DVD editions of Bates Motel Season 3 will each be combo packs with Digital HD. On Blu-ray you can expect a two-disc set with each episode presented in 1080p and 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. A lone confirmed bonus feature is ‘A Broken Psyche: Creating Norma-n.’

Source: TheHDRoom

Combat Scenes and 6 Other Emmy Contender Quickies

‘Bates Motel’s’ Vera Farmiga on Physically Demanding Combat Scenes and 6 Other Emmy Contender Quickies

Actress divulges her biggest challenges portraying the mother of psycho Norman Bates
Vera Farmiga‘s dynamic performance as unstable single mom Norma Bates in A&E original series “Bates Motel” demands attention as an Emmy contender for best actress in a drama — perhaps even more so now than when she was first nominated for the role in 2013.
Over three seasons, Farmiga has portrayed Norma’s emotional unraveling as her serial-killer son Norman Bates (Freddie Highmore) slowly evolves into the character so familiar to fans of Alfred Hitchcock‘s 1960 horror classic “Psycho.” Norma scrapes and claws — often literally — to save her son from murder charges, drug dealers and his own spiraling mental health, but receives little sympathy or support for her efforts.

TheWrap talked with Farmiga about the hardest moment of Season 3 and how she would like to see the Emmys reconfigured.

What was the toughest thing you had to do this season?
The toughest thing for me to execute was the shrill hand-to-hand combat with Nestor Carbonell‘s character, Sheriff Romero, in Episode 9. He pins Norma against her wall of dishonesty, demands she tell the truth and Norma goes ape-kaka on him. I’ve never made such barbaric, merciless contact with a man’s face flesh before. An acrimoniously aggressive scene that turns emotionally on a dime into profound sorrow, then regret and then enters sexy-sexy territory of desire, graduating to utmost disgust and resignation. A freaking hard scene to sustain for 30-plus camera takes.

What was the most fun thing you had to do this season?
The biggest hoot, is and always will be presenting Norma’s freak-outs. At least once a season, excrement hits the oscillating air device for Norma and she goes postal.

Let’s assume someone has never heard of “Bates Motel.” What would you say to convince that person to watch it?
There is nothing else like “Bates Motel” on television. Our characters’ neurosis and psychopathy and dysfunction will make you feel so much better about your own.

Are you a binge-watcher or are you a once-a-weeker? What was the last thing you binge-watched?
I’m a once-a-week-binge-watcher. This week I caught up on all the FIFA Women’s World Cup games. Last week, I ran through all “Wonderpets” episodes with my four- and six-year-old. Week before that, my hubby and I caught up on all “Vice” episodes.

If you could add a new category to the Emmys, whether serious or silly, what would it be?
Best Voice-Over Introduction by a Showrunner? Carlton Cuse would nab that one. Best Recycled Extra Performer? I have a keen eye for spotting background actors portraying different roles within a single episode of a TV show. The camera operators and focus pullers are always my fave people on a set. Their crafts deserve recognition.
If the Emmys really want to improve upon all other awards ceremonies, they could retool all the Best Actor and Actress categories. Make all the actors in contention really prove themselves by having to each execute the hardest scene from their competitors’ shows and have voters vote based on that information. That would be a veritable contest for ultimate acting supremacy.

What about this show sets it apart from the thriller shows like it on television right now, such as “Penny Dreadful,” “American Horror Story,” “Supernatural” or “Hannibal”?
What sets our thriller apart from others on TV right now is that we are firmly rooted in reality. There is nothing mystical, fantastical, supernatural, spectral or otherworldly in our show. We explore the darkness of the human condition. At the heart, ours is a beautiful story about a single mom’s unconditional love of her dysfunctional child. You are swept away on profoundly moving rapids of heartache and yearning and effort that it takes for a parent to heal their child.

Source: TheWrap