Actor Freddie Highmore had his breakthrough role in the movie Finding Neverland. He was just 9 years-old when he played the emotionally traumatized Peter Llewelyn Davies. Highmore was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award and impressed his co-star Johnny Depp so much that they worked together immediately after on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. In an interview with BBC news shortly after filming Neverland, Depp raved about Highmore.
Freddie’s a pleasure, a real treat. He’s a great actor certainly, he’s capable of many many things as an actor but as a human being he’s just perfection. He’s a pure soul he’s someone that I consider one of my best friends in fact. I think we’re going to be pals for a long long time.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, the young Highmore explained how he was able to pull-off such an emotional, heart-breaking performance, “Well, you just sort of think about what the character’s thinking and then you’re in the character.” Hear that actors? It’s that simple. Watch a clip from Neverland.
Fast forward nine years. A&E’s current and much talked about series Bates Motel is turning out to be a hit show. Bates is a contemporary prequel to the film Psycho and Highmore plays the psychological case-study, Norman Bates in his early years. Highmore’s co-star Vera Farmiga plays his mother, Norma and told Vulture that she couldn’t recommend him enough after seeing him in the recent indie The Art of Getting By and then watching his audition for Bates. They have since become very close, shooting eighteen hour days on location in Vancouver.
Well, we’re playing such emotionally intense characters. It’s like you’re baring your soul, so an intimate friendship with the person helps. I care about him a lot. And he’s sharp, I admire his perspective, and I require it as a collaborator. I love bouncing ideas off of him as far as infusing the piece with humor and affection. There’s a lot of Dostoyevsky-like turmoil in the show, so balancing it with shtick and the beautiful aspects of a mother-son relationship, which is affection and joy, all of that is important to us.
Highmore talked to Collider about identifying with Norman Bates at this stage of his life.
It’s that dramatic irony that people will always have the knowledge that he’s going to end up killing people. Whether or not Norman knows that himself, from the start, is a different thing.