When you watch the premiere of Bates Motel on A&E tonight, you might see the actor playing a teenage Norman Bates and think, “Hmm, he looks familiar. I feel like he’s made me cry in a movie once or seventy times.” That actor is Freddie Highmore, and you’ve probably already seen and loved him in movies.
Freddie’s now taking on the role made famous by Anthony Perkins in Alfred Hitchcock’s classic horror film Psycho. Bates Motel, from Lost‘s Carlton Cuse, is a contemporary prequel that examines the relationship between a young Norman Bates and his mother. It’s a much darker role than we’re used to seeing from Freddie, who is now a crushable 21 years old (I know!), and it has the potential to officially mark his transition from adorable child star to mature actor.
To make sure you’re able to properly appreciate Freddie’s bold new role, we’re here to let you in on five interesting facts about him that you might not have known before.
1.) It’s become a trend for his older co-stars to recommend him for roles. Not only did Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet suggest him to play Charlie in Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but Vera Farmiga, who plays Freddie’s mother in Bates Motel, requested him to play Norman. Vera also calls Freddie her “best friend,” making me very jealous.
2.) He was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award for his tearjerker role in the lovely film Finding Neverland, opposite Depp and Winslet. Freddie inspired such an emotional reaction from me when I saw this film that I have since referred to him as Freddie Crymore. Just looking at this GIF right now has me close to weeping:
3.) Helena Bonham Carter has played his mother three times. She was his mum in his first feature film, Women Talking Dirty, then again in Chocolate Factory, and she was his step-mom (close enough) in Toast. That sounds pretty fun to me!
4.) He studies Spanish and Arabic at the University of Cambridge. A couple of years ago he talked to Crushable about balancing work and school and playing for the soccer team. Like fellow Brit Emma Watson, we admire him for pursuing his studies while keeping up with his acting career.
5.) He and Daniel Radcliffe were playmates as kids. Yeah, that’s right. The Daniel Radcliffe. As in Harry Potter. Freddie’s mom is a talent agent who represents both Daniel and Freddie, and Freddie says he’s known the Radcliffe family since he was a kid:
“Even before Dan and I had done our first film, we were playing together on the beach. I think there are photos of us somewhere. So it’s funny that we’ve grown up and both ended up doing films.”
While you recover from learning that amazing information, don’t forget to watch Freddie in the premiere of Bates Motel tonight, Monday March 18, at 10 PM ET on A&E. And don’t worry, it won’t make you scared to take a shower… yet. Dun dun duuuun.