Monday night at the Universal Studios backlot, the emotional series finale of “Bates Motel” was screened for Emmy voters at a special FYC event. Moderator Michael Ausiello (TV Line) introduced showrunner Kerry Ehrin and stars Freddie Highmore and Vera Farmiga to a roaring crowd who gave a standing ovation following the screening in which — spoiler alert! — Highmore’s Norman Bates died at the hands of his brother Dylan (Max Thieriot). Among the topics covered in the Q&A, the trio discussed why Norman had to die, what it was like filming the final season, and what should be written on Norman’s headstone. Listen to audio from the “Bates Motel” Emmy event above.
Since Norman did not die in the original “Psycho,” why did the writers kill him off in “Bates Motel”? “Because it’s a love story and because [his mother Norma] died,” Ehrin explains. “So there was really no resolution for his character that was satisfying to me if he was left alive in this world without her, like wandering around in the hills. It doesn’t really feel like an ending. Even if it’s just in his head that he’s returning back to her, it still felt nice to give him that.”
Ehrin confirms that she and fellow producer Carlton Cuse never considered an alternate ending, but Farmiga pipes in that she’s bummed she never got a musical episode. “I wanted a tits-out musical episode, and that didn’t happen,” Farmiga laughs, to which Highmore adds, “I wanted Season 6 in Hawaii, finding it’s all just in Dylan’s head or something. There would’ve been a way to make it work!”
“It felt right,” Farmiga says about ending “Bates Motel” after five successful seasons. “We hit every note there was to hit in this piece of music. I think anything else would be redundant. We had that five-year trajectory from the start, and that was good knowing that and preparing for it. But I think we did all there was to do.”
“I’m still in denial that it’s all over really,” Highmore laments. “I’ll either be incredibly nostalgic or really cheery. That’s the sense that we all had as well. It was an amazing crew and amazing group of people we had up in Vancouver. It was this odd sense of everyone just hoping against hope — I guess deluded, like Norman and Norma — that we’d be able to come back and do another thing all together as one team. We’ll see.”
At the 2017 Emmys, Highmore will contend for Best Drama Actor while Farmiga is trying her luck in the Best Drama Supporting Actress category due to her decreased screen time in Season 5. (See A&E’s complete Emmy category breakdown.) “Bates Motel” has earned three nominations so far — Best Drama Actress for Farmiga in 2013, Best Cinematography in 2016 and Best Music Composition in 2016 — but we’re hoping Emmy voters “shower” it with more love for this final season.
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