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'Bates Motel' star Vera Farmiga discusses her role as one of cinema's most famous mothers

'Bates Motel' actress Vera Farmiga said her character, Norma, 'knows something' about her son Norman that makes her overly protective. 'Bates Motel' is a TV prequel to the seminal horror movie 'Psycho.'

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'Bates Motel' stars Vera Farmiga (r.) and Freddie Highmore (l.).

Joe Lederer/A&E/AP

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Vera Farmiga has some advice for Norma Bates, her character in the new series "Bates Motel": "Honesty is always the best policy."

Honesty — or the lack of it — is a key theme in the 10-episode prequel to the classic Hitchcock film "Psycho." The A&E show, which premiered Monday at 10 p.m., reveals just what drove Norman Bates (Freddie Highmore) over the edge.

In an interview Monday, the Oscar-nominated actress said Norman and his mother, Norma, are "harboring a dark secret which will unfold as the series continues." Along with the everyday angst most parents experience, Norma "knows something about him that I think makes her hyper-protective," Farmiga said.

 

Farmiga didn't have a lot to go from to create her character. In "Psycho," Norman's mother was a skeletal role. (Although Farmiga did reveal that in an upcoming episode she dons the same hairstyle as Norman's mother from the original film.)

Farmiga, who has two toddlers of her own, said she studied hers and other maternal relationships around her to help her get into character. She says in her mind Norma is a mother who is trying to be a good influence.

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