Well, maybe not quite lovely. There’s a twinge of something wrong in the first image of Freddie Highmore and Vera Farmiga as Norman and Norma Bates in A&E’s Psycho prequel series Bates Motel. Even their bucolic surroundings can’t conceal something a wee bit off.
The image comes to us via The Playlist, and has been running around the web for a bit now. Unlike The Playlist, I find the image to be a little less than normal.
There’s the looming house in the background for starters, which seems to be looking at the camera as much as the human characters. Then there’s the slightly odd and faraway expression on Vera Farmiga’s face as she gazes off into the distance. Finally there’s Highmore himself, our eventual psychopath, who looks the most normal of the pair. Poor kid doesn’t know what he’s in for. The whole image has a sense of decay, with the overgrown brown grass surrounding the mother and son team. Not the best environment to raise a child in, now is it?
Hitchcock just keeps cropping up everywhere, from HBO’s The Girl to the upcoming film Hitchcock starring Anthony Hopkins as the Master of Suspense making his most iconic film Psycho. Bates Motel fits in quite nicely there.
The A&E series is being overseen by Lost’s Carlton Cuse and presumably gives us the backstory of how Norman transformed into a mother-obsessed psycho-killer. Given Mother Bates’s weird gaze right here, I’m going to guess that she really does have a lot to do with it.
There’s always the danger with prequels that they will fail to live up to their originals, and Bates Motel has an uphill battle on this one. Still, Highmore and Farmiga are both excellent actors, and A&E had enough faith in the series to order it without a pilot. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
Bates Motel premieres next spring. Check out the bucolic family portrait below.