Interview with Vera Farmiga, Kerry Ehrin, and Carlton Cuse from "Bates Motel" of A&E - Primetime TV Show Articles From The TV MegaSite

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By Suzanne

Vera Farmiga

Interview with Vera Farmiga, Kerry Ehrin, and Carlton Cuse of "Bates Motel" on A&E 3/6/15

Moderator: Yong Kim
March 6, 2015 12:30 pm CT

Operator: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by. Welcome to the Bates Motel Vera Farmiga, Kerry Ehrin, Carlton Cuse Press and Media Conference Call.

During the presentation, all participants will be in a listen-only mode. Afterwards we will conduct a question and answer session. At that time if you have a question, please press the 1 followed by the 4 on you telephone.

If at any time during the conference you need to reach an operator, please press Star 0. As a reminder, this conference is being recorded Friday, March 6, 2015. I would now like to turn the conference over to Yong Kim, the Universal Television Publicist for Bates Motel. Please go ahead.

Yong Kim: All right. Thank you so much. Hi everyone. Welcome to the Bates Motel Conference Call today. We're currently joined by Bates Motel Executive Producers Kerry Ehrin and Carlton Cuse along with Norma herself, the amazing Vera Farmiga.

I'm sure you guys are aware but the third season of Bates Motel returns this upcoming Monday, March 9 at 9:00, 8:00 Central on A&E for another killer season.

And as always, this call will be recorded and should you need a transcript after the call, just please let me know and I will send it to you as soon as it's available.

So at this time, I'll turn the conference call over to the operator for questions. And just a reminder, due to limited time, please keep questions focused on the show. Thank you.

Operator: Ladies and gentlemen, if you'd like to register a question, please press the 1 followed by the 4 on your telephone. You'll hear a three-toned prompt to acknowledge your request. If your question has been answered and you would like to withdraw your registration, please press the 1 followed by the 3. If you're using a speakerphone, please lift your handset before entering you request. One moment please for our first question.

And our first question comes from the line Bill Harris with Toronto Sun Media. Please proceed with your question.

Bill Harris: Hey guys. Appreciate you doing the call today. I...

Carlton Cuse: Hey Bill.

Bill Harris: ...just wanted to ask quickly - I guess it's primarily for Carlton but I'd like the others to chime in too if they could, Vera and Kerry. Is it harder these days in a world where we see so much where, you know, everything is available on the Internet at the touch of a computer key to do suspenseful TV, to do spooky TV, to do TV that gets our attention?

Have you found that that has become harder through the years or is it just - is it the same skill set or do you never think about, you know, the audience having kind of seen everything? How do you still get people's attention in this era? Is it harder?

Carlton Cuse: I mean, I think it's harder to get people's attention just because of the sheer magnitude of choices out there. I mean there are, you know, 150 plus cable - scripted cable shows plus, you know, 100 plus networks. I mean I don't even know what the total is but it's massive.

And so, yes, I think it's very hard to find - there's just so many options that people have. But I think as a writer and as a (show writer) you'll drive yourself crazy if you worry about that too much.

I think the way that it flips into the writing process is that, you know, Kerry and I talk about this a lot. I think there's certain conventions people have. You know, people watch a lot of TV so they think that certain things are going to happen.

Bill Harris: Right.

Carlton Cuse: So I think the process is you're always trying to subvert expectations. And I think those expectations change based on the amount of TV people are consuming. So yes, I think we try to, you know, stay relevant and at the same time, you know, we're always looking for ways to not have our stories unfold in a predictable manner.

Bill Harris: And is there a - is there a - is there a manner in which maybe less is more at times? Like those very intensely creepy scenes where, you know, Vera's character and Freddie's character there's something slightly, you know, a hint of some sort of incestuousness going on.

And in a world where we can get, you know, hard core pornography at the touch of a computer key, just the mere suggestion of that really creeps us out. Is there something to the less is more strategy too maybe in modern times?

Carlton Cuse: You know, I think that the - we strive for a lot of nuance. And I think we are incredibly blessed because Vera and Freddie are so amazing. I mean a lot of - a lot of what makes that work is not what's on the page. It's what they do as performers.

You know, they bring, you know, this innate chemistry to the relationship. And, you know, we - what we put on the page they elevate in so many ways in terms of how they translate that and deliver that in their performances.

Bill Harris: Thanks very much.

Vera Farmiga: (Oh my).

Operator: And our next question - our next question comes from the line of (Heather Maclatchy) and Ms. (Maclatchy) please proceed with your question. And we're not getting a response from Ms. (Maclatchy).

Carlton Cuse: No. I think she hung up on us.

Operator: And our next line comes from the line of Kristi Turnquist from The Oregonian. Please proceed with your question.

Kristi Turnquist: I guess for Carlton on, you know, Bates Motel and your new show, The Returned to a set in Northwest locations. And I was wondering how that decision comes about. Is there something about the landscape here in the Northwest that just inherently lends itself to stories that are spooky and kind of creepy?

Carlton Cuse: You know, I think the physical environment is a big part of both shows. And while the second season Bates was sort of warm and summery, you know, Kerry and I felt very strongly that we should go back to a sort of bleaker, more monochromatic winter, late fall look for Season 3 of Bates and that it was narratively appropriate.

You know, for the return, the physical environment, the presence of nature; the kind of overwhelming influence of nature is I think a big part of the storytelling. It just, you know, there's this really weird phenomenon that's happening. And it - I think it - I think kind of metaphorically using nature to represent that there are forces much larger than our characters was an important part of the storytelling.

Kristi Turnquist: And I, you know, obviously both shows film not in Oregon or Washington but in British Columbia. Is that just because it's cheaper and easier to film in British Columbia?

Carlton Cuse: It's, you know, there are that - there's distinct, you know, tax benefits, currency benefits. But frankly, you know, British Columbia is an amazing center for film production. And there's incredible resources, Greg Cruz, you know, really talented people who you can have work on your shows. And that's the reason that we're there.

Kristi Turnquist: Thank you.

Operator: Our next question comes from the line of Jay Jacobs with Please proceed.

Jay Jacobs: Nice to talk to you. Now Norma became oddly sort of a stronger and more confident woman in Season 2. We still continue to see signs of her sort of odd variation of person growth like the whole political thing and stuff like that?

Carlton Cuse: Kerry, you jump on this.

Kerry Ehrin: Yes. I think Norma's whole plan in going to White Pine Bay was to have a normal life. And it - although she had a hell of a lot of trouble since she got there, it has forced her to have to deal with a lot and interact with a lot of people and find parts of herself that were stronger than she probably ever knew. And that actually has had the affect of making her stronger.

Jay Jacobs: And has it been interesting to play that Vera?

Vera Farmiga: To say the least, yes. You know, Kerry's taken the lead on writing Normal and she writes Norma for me like I'm some sort of a demigod. But I'm not man. I'm just a mere mortal in (Verdi) and I'm mortally wounded from what she has me go through.

It's pretty nutty to see now what we explore with this character this season like the height of righteousness that she possesses and the depths of manipulation and depravity almost that she is capable of. And there just is so many antics and adventures for me to explore.

It's yes - it's an outstanding role. I have never been challenged the way I am with this story in this particular character. And even as we speak, I swear it's like I'm - just so you know, I'm completely - I'm heavily medicated right now with tremors and spasms and a torn shoulder and neck muscles and the like. I am broken in smithereens.

Kerry Ehrin: It's a physical role.

Vera Farmiga: It's like - it's not even that. It's like a mental role that is frankly so not health for me with all due respect to everyone. But it's formidable and it's like - it's as it is to Kerry man. She writes this stuff. It's torturous to us all to hit the notes that are required emotionally and to do it earnestly. And Kerry really keeps us on point like that. But it just requires...

Jay Jacobs: Well now that...

Vera Farmiga: ...the tenacity of ten f'ing tornados and I only had about 9-1/2 in me. I didn't get to finish that last day on set. But it's, you know, yes. I think that...

Kerry Ehrin: But what we have is pretty amazing.

Vera Farmiga: ...and (unintelligible).

Jay Jacobs: Well now that Norma knows about Norman's blackouts, will she ever let him back out into the regular world again or is she going to try to just trap him in there...

Vera Farmiga: Well, yes. I mean you're going to see a more unraveled Norma this year. You know, I mean there's mammoth stress in dealing with Norman's mental state, you know. It has a whopping physical and emotional torn toll on Norma the way it would on any parent of a quote unquote special needs child.

And I think following the events of last season, Norma is more aware, she's more circumspect, she's more attentive to Norman's fragility. I think you're going to see her playing I think her cards really close to her chest in the beginning of the season but she's got to reach out. I mean she's - I think she's at a point where yes, to answer your question, she's...


Vera Farmiga: ...protective of him as ever and determined to help him as best as she can. But she doesn't always know how. And I think she's going to start reaching out to others. And they're going to I think that relationship evolves as they allow more people in their lives.

Jay Jacobs: Yes.

Vera Farmiga: And you're going to see how the mother son bond kind of withstands that - those pressures.


Jay Jacobs: Kerry, I've been watching the new (boxhead) of the Wonder Years. And I've seen your name on quite a few episodes. How does it feel to have a career that goes from writing for Kevin Arnold to writing for Norma and Norman Bates? And also does it make you feel good that after all these years the Wonder Years is finally available on video?

Kerry Ehrin: Yes it does actually. I didn't even know it was. It makes me feel...

Jay Jacobs: Yes. It is.

Kerry Ehrin: - it makes me feel as timeless as our series. It's a long time. But yes.

Jay Jacobs: Okay. Well thank you.

Vera Farmiga: I didn't know that Kerry. I loved the Wonder Years.

Kerry Ehrin: I did too. It was a great show.

Operator: And our next question comes from the line of Derek Anderson with Horror and Sci-Fi Magazine. Please proceed with your question.

Derek Anderson: Hi everyone. First off congratulations on the recent Saturn Award nominations for Bates Motel.

Kerry Ehrin: Thank you.

Vera Farmiga: Thank you.

Derek Anderson: And I know we've got some great guest stars lined up as per usual for this season one of which is played by Joshua Leonard, which Vera I know you directed in Higher Ground.

Vera Farmiga: Yes.

Derek Anderson: I was wondering what was your experience getting to work with Joshua again? And also from the writing point of view, could we get a little tease of how Joshua's character will play into the storyline of Season 3?

Vera Farmiga: Sure. Yes. I rooted for - he - well let me explain James Finnegan. I think that, you know, she's - Norma's determined to make her business a success. And so she starts enrolling in business classes at the local community college. And so there she meets James Finnegan.

And he kind of launches her into a whole new path of discovery. James - I rooted for Joshua to get this role. You know, it's very interesting though in Higher Ground we - he played a husband in a relationship that I'm leaving. And this is more of a romantic role.

And yet we're very close friends. It was a very interesting and bazaar dynamic between the two of us. I - it's a character that Norma bonds intensely with. And, you know, he's just - he's phenomenal. And it was a - but I - I'm not going to - it was a quirky experience to embarking on. We were so close and this is just a weird twist. And it was amazing but odd at the same time to work so closely in a different capacity.

Carlton Cuse: You know, the quirkiness of it is great. I mean it's exactly the right word. And, you know, the - I think, you know, Kerry and I strive to create characters who are quirky and odd but yet believable within our sort of larger than life pulpy world of White Pine Bay.

And he did - Joshua did such an incredibly great job of fitting that mold exactly. He's odd but he's really compelling. And over the course of a few episodes, I think the audience will find themselves incredibly engaged in this relationship with these two characters as it starts to deepen and unfold.

Derek Anderson: Awesome. I can't wait to check it out. Thank you.

Operator: Our next question comes from the line of Tom Teodorczuk, Freelancer with the U.K. Independent, Daily Beast and The Times. Please proceed with your question.

Tom Teodorczuk: Hi there. I'm just really interested in the dynamic between Vera's character and Freddie's character and how you manage to keep it fresh and inventive and innovative because it's - in some ways it's the easiest thing in the world to kind of have it grow stale and, you know, run out of new ways to keep audiences riveted by it.

Vera Farmiga: Yes. Yes. It's a really great question because I - it's a great actor - acting challenge for me and for Freddie as well. And I think, you know, as they sort of head towards what seemingly is going to be their inevitable Hades, you know, these emotional scenes also come at such high frequency and duration that sometimes I honestly am just sort of running out of ideas.

And it's, you know, it's really interesting the closeness and the best friendship and the respect and the trust between Freddie and myself. And Kerry, you can talk about the writing aspects of this. But, you know, from an acting perspective, it's just - it's really intense work. And Freddie has become really particularly adept at sort of instigating me and knowing my soft spots emotionally and treading like a bulldozer over them.

And it's like in this last season in particular he can be a real prick when it comes to helping like that endurance and the emotional (earnesty). But I'm going to say it's hard. It's hard. And sometimes I just like I, you know, Kerry what - it's just nutty. I literally get angry at you - at Kerry for writing this bat shit craziness and then you just kind of find it and just because of endurance man. Sometimes I like I just don't know where it's going to come from.

Kerry Ehrin: Yes.

Vera Farmiga: And you find a way to transfer it into the scene. Sometimes it's just the panic of not knowing where to drill that wellspring of emotion, you know, to quench the scene. Sometimes that's enough to set me off. But it's like it really is - it comes down to what Freddie and I have together as colleagues and as team players, you know.

And there's so much trust that we can get pretty wily with each other. And certainly that goes for the entire cast and with every year. We just draw nearer and dearer to each other and can push each other's limits. And we push each other's for better, for more, for deeper. But Kerry, why don't you talk about the mechanics of it.

Kerry Ehrin: Well, I mean it's similar in writing. Carlton and I like to change up the storytelling a lot. And so, you know, you are telling a very intimate story of two people over a very specific and somewhat small period of time. So it does require a lot of thought about how is this going to be different.

And I think what personally is so fascinating is that it is a psychological thriller. And you can, you know, if you - if you're in a bad marriage let's say for like two years, every single day is going to be specific and different and fascinating. And it's going to feed into what happens the next day.

So I think the joy of it is getting under that and playing with it and exploring it so that it's constantly growing and moving forward, you know, in ways that surprise use because as Carlton and I like to be surprised. So yes, it's fun. Not so much fun for Vera. Right.

Vera Farmiga: No. And but despite that, look. Like I'm not going to lie. There's some - like especially this season there's some big dingy, stingy ordeal in store like we're going to wade through and drown in some...

Kerry Ehrin: No I know. Seriously. No I get it.

Vera Farmiga: ...some agony.

Kerry Ehrin: In know. I know.

Vera Farmiga: But there's - yes. It's like how on earth - but there's also so much - exactly what Kerry said. It's so much joy and burlesque and absurdity and dark forest and like buffoonery and above all love. There's so much love there. And that's what makes...

Kerry Ehrin: Yes.

Vera Farmiga: ...this show so special that there's so much (unintelligible), so much darkness and yet so much humor watching these characters navigate in some ludicrously improbable situations, you know. But that's what makes it for me so exhilarating.

You know, yes, it's acute, it's intense, it's agonizing most of the time but it's balanced so beautifully. There's a lot of joy and beauty and friendship and love.

Kerry Ehrin: Yes.


Kerry Ehrin: them - to Vera and Freddie.

Carlton Cuse: Yes. I think, you know, ostensibly the show, you know, the label of the show would be that it's about a guy who's growing up to become a serial killer but we strive really, really hard to, you know, provide, you know, to make it feel so, you know, human and real and part of that is humor.

And I think that that's something that really the sort of the humor and heart of our show is what distinguishes it from other shows in the genre.

Tom Teodorczuk: Great. Thanks.

Kerry Ehrin: Thank you.

Operator: Our next question comes from the line of Courtney Vaudreuil with Ohsogray. Please proceed with your question.

Courtney Vaudreuil: Hello. I noticed that the season coming up the creepy factor between Norma and Norman is vamped up. And he is starting to manifest himself as Norma. Are we going to see more of that and is she going to be oblivious to it?

Carlton Cuse: Well she's certainly not oblivious to it. You know, the - yes. I mean we, you know, we try to make the relationship between Norma and Norman different every season. And, you know, we're watching a progression here. And we are, you know, it's the story about a mother and who desperately loves her son and is trying to prevent him from becoming this guy that's he inevitably going to become.

And this season he starts to slide much more significantly into that character. He becomes less able to the kind of modulator or be conscious of his decline. And that causes, you know, just really serious consequences in his relationship with his mom. And, you know, I think we explore that in a lot of different ways and, you know, it's - and we - and that's really the journey of the season.

Courtney Vaudreuil: Thank you.

Operator: Our next question comes from the line of (Heather Maclatchy) with TV Goodness. Please proceed with your question.

Heather Maclatchy: Hey guys. Can you hear me this time?

Kerry Ehrin: Yes.

Vera Farmiga: Hi (Heather).

Heather Maclatchy: Oh great. Hi. I'm so sorry about the first time. I was talking away and nobody could hear me. So thank you so much for taking the call and I did not...

Vera Farmiga: Hate when that happens.

Heather Maclatchy: ...stand you up. And...

Vera Farmiga: I'm so...

Heather Maclatchy: And Vera, thank you for putting your heart and your soul and your body into the part. I do appreciate it.

Vera Farmiga: So sweet.

Heather Maclatchy: My question is - my question is related to the - it was interesting the dynamic out of the gate that Norma really doesn't realize that what she and Norman are doing and have done all summer is so strange until Dylan mentioned to her. Will we see her try to find more of a balance in her relationship with Norman because of what Dylan has to say?

Vera Farmiga: Yes indeed. I think she's relying on Dylan in a way that she'd never expected to. And that relationship really deepens. And they both share the same concern. They, you know, and they both want to help Norman. So I think she is relying on him, you know, for a male perspective on how to care for Norman. And that's going to trigger somebody something they'll in Norman.

Heather Maclatchy: Wonderful. Thank you. And to the question that you all talked about earlier, is it hard to find that balance in the scene - this is for all three of you to find a balance of the scenes between Norma and Norman? Because you do walk such a fine line that if there a loving relationship there but they're on the edge of something else that's dangerous and that will of course shape who Norman's going to become.

Can you talk about finding that balance and creating that relationship on screen?

Kerry Ehrin: Well in the writing we always have approached it that it is a mother son relationship and that on the deepest level it's a loving relationship. There's things that are happening inside of Norman that he's not fully in control of and he doesn't understand that he never separated from his mother emotionally at the right age. So he's way too invested in her and, you know, while he's going through sexual maturing.

But Norma is a mom. She's always innocent. She doesn't - she sees him as her son as you do. Like, you know, my sons are turning into teenagers and I still look at them. I see them as 7-year-olds. You know, it's like - it's really hard to ever see your kids any other way. And I think that the heart of that innocence is at the base of it and I think it...


Kerry Ehrin:

Vera Farmiga: And then (I go just) from the acting perspective my approach - I think this is what makes it so delicious for an audience to construe or misconstrue as the case may be. I think it is so hopeless and so grim. It's so dark to witness you child succumbing to darkness.

And I think the only way that Norma knows how to keep her child from teetering over this like miserable dark edge is to love him, you know, physically, emotionally and that's like - that is the bottom line purpose and aim is to keep her Norman safe and sound and to help him navigate the world and to protect him, you know, promote normal psychological growth.

She is trying to do that in the best way she knows how. And I always come from that - through that earnestness. And in a, you know, and that's really just always through that lens. But, you know, yes.

Kerry Ehrin: She's always doing the best she can.

Heather Maclatchy: No, I think that...

Kerry Ehrin: Yes.

Heather Maclatchy: Absolutely. Well and it's so heartfelt. You know, you're watching like you said it's - you know where it's going to go but it's lovely to watch it unfold because there is love there, you know. It started from love.

Vera Farmiga: Well I - yes. I mean it's really unsettling bonding but it is so heartfelt.

Heather Maclatchy: Well thank you so much.

Vera Farmiga: yes.

Heather Maclatchy: And I am looking forward to hearing the fans getting to see it. I really enjoyed the premiere.

Kerry Ehrin: Thank you.

Carlton Cuse: Oh, all right. Thank you.

Vera Farmiga: Thank you so much (Heather).

Heather Maclatchy: Thanks.

Operator: And our next question comes from the line of Anne Easton with the New York Observer and Please proceed with your question.

Anne Easton: Hi. Thanks for taking the call. I was just wondering what was the biggest challenge for all of you this season? Was there a moment when you were like we don't know if we can do this or just something that was really difficult to get through that ultimately worked out in the end?

Carlton Cuse: Wow. That's a good question. Gees. You know, I think that we work hard on the, you know, the kind of the crime story aspect of the show is something that, you know, kind of trying to have - the show for us is just a cocktail of super nuance, the character writing combined with this intentionally pulpy crime drama.

And so getting that right is something that, you know, is really hard to do. And, you know, we have this character of Chick Hogan who played by Ryan Hurst is, you know, is a very - was like a very dangerous character for us to create because he's right on the edge of being ridiculous or being terrifying. And that was something that I think we were very nervous about being able to pull off. And, you know, I think we got on the right side of the line.

Anne Easton: Great. Can you talk a little bit about some other newcomers that you have like Kevin Rahm and what their roles will be?

Carlton Cuse: Kerry.

Kerry Ehrin: Yes. Kevin Rahm plays a White Pine Bay local, a prominent person, wealth, affluent and somewhat of a antagonist. The really cool thing about his role is that he is someone who grew up with Alex Romero. And through the storyline this season we get to peel back some layers of Romero, which is so much fun as certainly as writers.

But it just, you know, as a viewer I think it's going to be so interesting to get inside this incredibly stoic guarded person and see a little more of what makes them tick and what they need and what they're hiding from themselves, you know. So that's just been a really fun storyline.

Anne Easton: Great. Thanks so much.

Kerry Ehrin: Thank you.

Operator: Our next question comes from the line of Jamie Ruby with Please proceed with your question.

Jamie Ruby: Hi guys. Thanks for doing the call. You touched on this a bit earlier about how Norman's going to be getting jealous of Dylan and Norma, you know, and helping her in that. Can you kind of talk about that and how it's going to change the dynamics between the three characters this season?

Kerry Ehrin: Well, you know, the relationship with Norma and Norman is so peculiarly close. And because they - because it is so co-dependent and because they have this sense that they sort of emotionally need each other to survive, the presence of someone else in that universe is threatening. And Norma is a little - she's in a stronger place and she's in a more desperate place at the same time.

So she is a little more open to Dylan. And she's kind of reaching out more to him. But Norman who has basically stayed in the world for his mom at this point feels incredibly threatened by it.

Jamie Ruby: Okay. Great. And forgot what I was going to say. Oh. You talked a little bit about some of the guest stars. But the one you didn't is - can you talk about Tracy being on the show this year?

Carlton Cuse: Yes. I mean Tracy plays this sort of mysterious beautiful enigmatic woman who checks into the Bates Motel and she really becomes the catalyst for our entire crime story this season. You know, it may sort of seem at first blush that it's, you know, kind of an obvious storyline out of the movie Psycho but that's not - it doesn't turn out to be that way at all.

And but, you know, we really - we - we're sort of - we're sort of teasing Norman's confused, you know, sort of sexual perspective. And, you know, the - her fate and, you know, her whole back story is sort of the big mystery that sort of drives our plot and our narrative over the course of the, you know, the season.

And she did a wonderful job in a very short time kind of making us very intrigued about the character. And she's, you know, not only beautiful but really a really great actress and was really kind of fun to have her on the show.

Jamie Ruby: Thank you so much.

Kerry Ehrin: Thank you.

Operator: Our next question comes from the line of Earl Dittman with Wireless Magazine. Please proceed with your question.

Earl Dittman: Hi. Vera, Freddie has talked about how in real life he's, you know, become a really big part of your own family and how he stayed there. You know, spend a lot of time with you and your family.

If for some reason that had not happened, do you think you would have still gotten that kind of - the performance would still be as - if he was just another cast member let's say? Would you still have that kind of dynamic going on or is that kind of essential to how this has all worked out for you all?

Vera Farmiga: I don't - I can't really answer that what if. It just did. We are who we are to each other. I can't imagine being any other way. And certainly we're, you know, he wasn't spending the night this year. He got a girlfriend.

Earl Dittman: Oh, well good.

Vera Farmiga: So he - I sort of kept him at bay. But that's not to say he still doesn't have - it's like the other day. We just - the other day I just looked at his, you know, spare toothbrush lying in my children's drawer and I though ah, should I throw this away or - no. I kind of left it there for next year. He's got his contacts and everything.

Yes. We're just very close. And he's very close with my husband who is a kind of surrogate father for him. And he, you know, and he is a good buddy for my children. He's an incredible influence on them. And just we are who we are to each other. And we...

Earl Dittman: Yes.

Vera Farmiga: ...rely heavily on each other, you know, to execute these roles. And I can't imagine it any other way.

Earl Dittman: Well, you know, I know as actors that when you take on a character, you almost have to like the character because you can't judge them because you have to play them. While we know that you're not like Norma because we've seen you in so many other things, what is it about Norma though that you do relate to that you can say, you know, that is kind of like me and I can relate to her in that way?

Vera Farmiga: You know, it's just I'm a mother. And I know that my unique challenges as both a daughter and as a mother have given me a fricking wealth and myriad of experience to draw on. It's - I do have a bonanza of material angst. I just do. I have like, you know, I've got this bat and there's this f'ing piņata over my head - maternal piņata that I can just bat with all my own personal experience.

And it just comes showering down upon me and it's relatability as a mom. There's like there's nothing I won't do to see my children become the absolutely best possible versions of themselves. And I'll, you know, I'll fight to the death for that. And that's what I admire so much about Norma.

Earl Dittman: Yes. Well it's an incredible performance. Wonderful.

Vera Farmiga: Thank you.

Earl Dittman: One quick one for Carlton (unintelligible). All right. Carlton, you and Guillermo have talked about this like five seasons of The Strain. Is there a stop date for Bates Motel? I mean do you see...

Carlton Cuse: Yes. I mean it...

Earl Dittman: ...a certain amount of seasons and that's it?

Carlton Cuse: ...takes five - yes, five seasons. I mean, you know, Kerry and I have a pretty clear roadmap. So we - we're just finishing the third season right now and, you know, we feel pretty strongly that there's two more seasons in the show and, you know, we have a pretty, you know, we have a pretty clear plan of where we want to go and we want to bring this story to its inevitable conclusion.

I, you know, I think Bates is not its best version if it's an open ended series and I think the audience is sort of waiting for the conclusion and we're heading there. You know, we'll be, you know, we have that mapped out.

Earl Dittman: Yes. Well all of you thank you for an incredible series - all of you. Thank you so much.

Kerry Ehrin: Thank you so much.

Vera Farmiga: Thank you.

Operator: Our next question comes from the line of (Katrina Padralin) with Washington Square News. Please proceed with your question.

Katrina Padralin: Yes. Thank you so much. First of all I just want to say congratulations to all of you for a new Season 3. And I've been watching it on Netflix to be quite honest. It's fantastic.

Kerry Ehrin: Thank you.

Katrina Padralin: So I was just wondering how are you all able to maintain a freshness and excitement for a show in your (respective leads)? So for instance Ms. Farmiga, how do you sustain the allure and new aspects to (Nora)? And how do you Mr. Cuse sustain the thrill and originality to the writing of the show without straying too far from the show's foundation, which is the film Psycho?

Vera Farmiga: I'm really going to throw this over to Kerry and Carlton. I just think the pianist is only as good as the composition. And...

Katrina Padralin: Okay.

Vera Farmiga: know, they just keep writing these (arpages) that roll off the fricking Richter scale. And I think with Norma there's like there's nothing that I can - it's just incredibly surprising to me and amazing where they can take this character.

Carlton Cuse: Yes.

Vera Farmiga: And she's just so - yes, go on Carlton. Go on honey.

Carlton Cuse: No, I just, you know, I mean it's - look, it's an incredible choice to do a show with these - with two amazing actors. And so to me the key is pretty simple. I mean, you know, Kerry and I work, you know, closely on the stories and then, you know, Kerry really, you know, does magical things as a writer really bringing these characters to life.

And then those words pass into the hands of Freddie and Vera and the rest of our cast. And they, you know, kind of infuse the show with a whole other level of energy. And it's, you know, it's really remarkable. It's, you know, I think as a (show writer) sometimes, you know, you imagine something in your head when you conceive a story.

And in a way it's kind of the idealized version and Bates is one of those rare and absolutely beautiful experiences when, you know, when watching cuts, you know, it just - it feels like what's coming back is better than what I imagined in my head.

And I think it's those, you know, I'm blessed to be working with, you know, an incredibly special writer and Vera and some other incredible, you know, performers. And that's what makes the show so magical.

Vera Farmiga: It's true. We - it's true. We haven't even talked about Kenny Johnson as Caleb or Nestor Carbonell as Romero. When I tell you all these...

Kerry Ehrin: (Unintelligible).

Vera Farmiga: ...actors just kill it, kill it this year and they're just all the kind of actor that can find - they play such dissonant discordant roles but they find the harmony in it. I can't tell you. It's like they're just incredibly nuanced actors. And it's true. They're so much a part of that.

Kerry Ehrin: It's amazing chemistry. Just like all around.


Katrina Padralin: Yes. I see it on the show. So thank you so much and congratulations again.

Kerry Ehrin: Thank you.

Vera Farmiga: Thanks.

Operator: Our next question comes from the line of Amanda Remling with International Business Times. Please proceed with your question.

Amanda Remling: Hi. I'm glad you just mentioned Kenny Johnson because I'm so excited he's coming back. The whole twisted daddy uncle thing is awesome. So can you tease anything of how, you know, his character's return and kind of what it means for, you know, their character?


Kerry Ehrin: Yes. I mean that's an incredibly loaded situation because...

Vera Farmiga: It is.

Kerry Ehrin: ...Dylan and the Fulcrum. Did you want to...

Carlton Cuse: He's a series regular this season. So you're going to be seeing a lot of him. And, you know, it's not a simplistic relationship. I mean it's not...

Vera Farmiga: No.

Carlton Cuse: ...simply that he's, you know, he's not just a bad guy. We didn't - we just didn't paint him with one color. And I think a lot of the season is about untangling all the layers of the relationship that he has with Norma, and also with his - with Dylan, his son. And that, you know, there's some really, you know, beautiful stuff that happens, you know, between, you know, you know, Vera and Kenny and Max as they play this unfolding drama.

Amanda Remling: Okay. And do you think anything could be said about like the return of Bradley. Are we going to find more conflict between Norman and Dylan as - more complex than normal when she's reintroduced?

Carlton Cuse: Kerry.

Kerry Ehrin: I'm trying to think of how to answer that. No actually. No. It's not what you would expect it to be. It's - we get to see what Bradley has been through since we last saw her, which was pretty daunting. And she's kind of on a journey of her own in returning back to White Pine Bay. But it does not directly intersect with Dylan.

Amanda Remling: Okay. Thank you so much. I'm excited to watch.

Kerry Ehrin: Thank you.

Operator: Our next question comes from the line of Suzanne Lanoue with The TV MegaSite. Please proceed with your question.

Suzanne Lanoue: Hi. I was going to ask Vera how has the show changed your life in terms of your relationship with the public when you see people in real life or online?

Vera Farmiga: How has the show? You mean...

Suzanne Lanoue: How it's changed your life in terms of how you are interacting with the public and how they great you and that kind of thing?

Vera Farmiga: I don't think it has. I mean I've always conducted sort of - myself a certain way when it comes to press and availability to - you know, I have joined Twitter on behalf of the show. I had, you know, a kind of a staunch resistance to it at first because I do believe it sort of takes away mysticism. But at the same time it is a very hands on way of me controlling the press about the show and about myself.

So maybe in that respect I see like - certainly this show instigated me and I think (mastered) I managed to convince Olivia and Freddie I think yesterday night to actually come onboard and use it as a vehicle.

But, you know, it does - honestly I think this role has attracted a certain kind of fan. And, you know, I think - I don't know. It's a delicate thing for me how involved I am in social media and advising these people and being a part of their lives in a way that they want me to be as - because I do think I do see this sort of this job of mine as a vocation and I am a role model for young women.

And I suppose maybe perhaps in that way I think I take my responsibility to heart and have opened myself up to new vehicles sort of to - yes, to, you know, to kind of considering that.

Suzanne Lanoue: Do you feel that people come up to you more on the street or whatever? What you (unintelligible)...

Vera Farmiga: No, not at all.

Suzanne Lanoue: real life.

Vera Farmiga: No. Still no. They don't recognize me. They don't recognize me. I think I'm a blond on the show and it really freaks people out. I mean I can virtually them when I take the week off, you know, and I'm on the street that they'll ask me like, you know, who do you play; what, you know, what show? And I say, "Bates Motel." And they say, "Who do you play?" You know, it's that incognito.

Suzanne Lanoue: Oh my God.

Vera Farmiga: Yes. It's wild.

Suzanne Lanoue: That's amazing. Oh wow. And Carlton, can you speak at all about the Monday's premiere along with your other show and how that all came about and the - what do you think it will do for either show or (unintelligible).

Carlton Cuse: I mean I, you know, I got in - I was offered - Andy had acquired the remake of - rights of The Returned. They offered that to me. It was after I had already, you know, been working on Bates. And I started developing that show. And, you know, I think it's exciting that I - my hope is, is that the audience for Bates will really enjoy The Returned also. And I think it makes a lot of sense for Andy to put the two scripted shows on back to back on the same night.

Obviously I'm a little nervous and excited about it. You know, I'm very proud of both of them. And I hope people will check them out. I mean with that, unfortunately I have to - I have to jump but I will leave you guys in Vera and Kerry's able hands.

Kerry Ehrin: Carlton.

Vera Farmiga: (Okay). Sayonara.

Suzanne Lanoue: Good luck.

Kerry Ehrin: Carlton left us. Okay.

Operator: And our next question comes from the line of Erin Qualey with Hidden Remote. Please proceed with your question.

Erin Qualey: Hello. Thank you so much for this opportunity to speak with you today. I just wanted to know due to the mystery and the intrigue on the show, the show is certainly bendable making it perfect for inclusion on Netflix. How do you think viewership's changed since the show became available on Netflix?

Kerry Ehrin: How do we think what has changed?

Vera Farmiga: The viewership.

Erin Qualey: Oh, I'm sorry. How do you feel the - yes, the viewership since it started, you know, because when people, you know, when it's up on Netflix people kind of can discover it in a whole different way rather than when it's on television.

Kerry Ehrin: I actually don't know. I mean because I don't really - I don't really know how the viewership has changed...

Vera Farmiga: Yes.

Kerry Ehrin: know.

Vera Farmiga: It's a really -I think it's incredibly hard to calculate to be honest with you. I think - well I think that for me I'll play it frankly - as a personal frustration, I would like them to be available on Netflix immediately because I think...

Kerry Ehrin: Yes.

Vera Farmiga: and culture has shifted the way we watch our stories. People want to binge watch. People want to catch up on their own time and in, you know, in their own convenience and, you know, and not have to kind of wade through the commercials to do it. So I just wish actually it was available. But it is available now. So that's in time for Season 3 premiere on March 9. So that's a positive.


Vera Farmiga: ...the exact science to calculate like how actually that affects viewership. I mean obviously well.


Kerry Ehrin: Yes.

Erin Qualey: Right.

Kerry Ehrin: Well I mean I do...

Vera Farmiga: I would...

Kerry Ehrin: ...I'm getting - I'm sorry. I was going to say it's getting really...

Vera Farmiga:, go on.

Kerry Ehrin: ...(unintelligible) how to calculate any viewerships because overnights no longer mean what they used to mean. It's very...

Vera Farmiga: Right.

Kerry Ehrin: know, you get so many different versions of viewership, it's the overnights, it's overnights plus four, it's the whatever. You know, it's like there's five different versions of them.

I know we're doing really well. But beyond that, I really - it's very hard and it's kind of a thing that's happening just in the industry right now is how do you - how do you calculate viewership and how do you really know how many people are watching something because the way people watch things now is so different.


Vera Farmiga: ...incredibly grateful for Netflix and...

Kerry Ehrin: Yes.

Vera Farmiga: ...would love that ability to be, you know, easily accessible even sooner than...

Kerry Ehrin: Yes.

Vera Farmiga: ...having to wait almost a year to access it.

Erin Qualey: Definitely. And like one of the other reporters mentioned before, it's definitely a show that, you know, is (bingeable). And so what - if I were to take that a step further, what shows do you ladies binge on?

Kerry Ehrin: Well...

Vera Farmiga: (Lord).

Kerry Ehrin: ...we are both - we are both working women with children.

Vera Farmiga: I don't - I just - yes. It's - yes...

Kerry Ehrin: That's (what we do).

Vera Farmiga: ...I honestly say - I know. It's so lame but I don't have an answer. I have not - only because we're coming out of...

Kerry Ehrin: Production.

Vera Farmiga: ...we're coming out of the eye of the storm...

Kerry Ehrin: Yes.

Vera Farmiga: ...right now.


Vera Farmiga: ...production. So everything's been on hold. And I haven't watched anything since - what was the last thing I tuned into? I was on American Airlines and I watched (Leanne)'s show - a (unintelligible) remember if that was the last show I watched. Anyway, it's sadly...


Erin Qualey: Well thank goodness with Netflix you can catch up on stuff whenever. And (unintelligible).

Kerry Ehrin: Yes. I have a long list.

Erin Qualey: Oh yes, well, you know, there's great TV. This is the golden age of television, right?

Kerry Ehrin: Yes.

Vera Farmiga: Yes.

Erin Qualey: I have just one last quick question. On the recent Nerdist writer's podcast, Kerry you and Freddie both stated that this would be kind of a different and darker upcoming season. If the two of you were to describe the upcoming season in kind of like a distilled version, maybe eight words or less, how would you describe it?

Vera Farmiga: If - repeat the question. If the two of us were to...

Erin Qualey: Just describe the season in like a distilled version, maybe say eight words or less, how would you describe it?

Vera Farmiga: Oh, in eight words or less?


Kerry Ehrin: Going down a dark rabbit hole.

Erin Qualey: Going - oh, I like that.

Vera Farmiga: Oh yes, that's good. Going down a dark rabbit hole. You're like two words short of that. You know...


Kerry Ehrin: ...redundant. There's no brightly lit rabbit hole.

Vera Farmiga: Yes. And - going to leave our audience open mouthed and panting. Okay. So I got eight words. It's going to...

Erin Qualey: (Unintelligible).

Vera Farmiga: Get the - it's get the - get the preposition out of there. Going to leave our audience open mouthed and panting.

Erin Qualey: Ooh. Well thank you so much ladies. And Vera, I hope you feel better.

Vera Farmiga: Thank you. (Unintelligible).

Operator: Our next question comes from the line of Elsa Lopez with Glamour Magazine. Please proceed with your question.

Elsa Lopez: Hello guys. This is Elsa from Glamour Magazine.

Kerry Ehrin: Hi.

Vera Farmiga: Yes.

Elsa Lopez: So (unintelligible). For (each of the) writers how would you write characters such like dark and (unintelligible) and with (unintelligible) environment? And Vera, how is it to perform this character because I mean being a writer (sounds) great because you can do whatever you want with these characters. But you playing the character is it harder? Is it even - is it a challenge? So how (is it)?

Vera Farmiga: Well, I didn't hear the first part of the - it was warbled and so I couldn't hear the first part.

Kerry Ehrin: Yes, you're cutting out a little bit. It's hard - it's a little bit hard to hear. Could you just say it again?

Vera Farmiga: Yes.

Elsa Lopez: (Better)? Okay. So let's talk about perspective. You as writers and producers, how is it to create this kind of environment?

Very Farmiga: Oh.

Elsa Lopez: And then (unintelligible) thing to do? And Vera, as a character, how is it to play these kind of things?

Kerry Ehrin: Oh, okay. Well to write a - I mean we really experience what we write. It isn't like we just kind of sit around and say hey, let's make them do this. You know, it - we really feel it. We really, you know, the writing staff, myself and Carlton, we live inside of it. It's a very real psychological universe to us.

So it's sometimes exhausting to be inside it all the time. But I think the thing that is always rejuvenating when you're inside it is the intense love that we have for the characters...

Vera Farmiga: Yes.

Kerry Ehrin: ...and that we want them to get out alive. We want - and that is always propelling us when we write, you know. It's...

Vera Farmiga: Yes.

Kerry Ehrin: ...we're like in there. We're in the foxhole with them. Do you want to take it...

Vera Farmiga: Yes. And from an acting perspective, it's like, you know, it is so - I'm sailing with Norma Bates' ship and then most of the time I'm just sort of dreading the rigging failure. And I feel like, you know, it's - Kerry has me with Norma's emotions just kind of turning on a dime. And it feels like you're sailing 40-knot winds and 30-foot waves.

And it's like I'm in down take because there's so much joy and friendship on the set between the cast and the crew. I have found the way that I cope with it this year is very different than I have had in past seasons. And I think like it's so - it's such acute and intense work that I have to find - like for me just in between on the set this year it's like I have to do things that really lighten it up for me.

And so this year I've been learning the guitar in between the scenes with an emphasis on heavy metal. And so like, you know, in between it's like I'm just finding ways to do some - anything but, you know. And I don't know. And that's really - that's like become really important to me.

So - and I find it through beautiful coping strategy like to just - and you know what we do also. We make up songs for each other, which is - Kerry, I have to release those on Twitter eventually. Eventually they'll be released on Twitter.

But it's like it's all fun and shenanigans on set. And then when we get to work we get to work. But playing it has for me very much because so much of the time Norma Bates is so unafraid it is kind of finding as much as joy as I can in the role and finding as much joy and light heartedness off screen. So I play slipknot and practice triplet notes on my guitar.

Elsa Lopez: Okay. Thank you so much. And Mexico really love the show. So congratulations for this (unintelligible).

Vera Farmiga: Thank you.

Kerry Ehrin: Well thank you so much.

Vera Farmiga: I have to release those songs strategically Kerry.

Kerry Ehrin: I know. They're so funny.

Vera Farmiga: Strategically I'll let them go on Twitter.

Kerry Ehrin: Okay.

Operator: And our next question comes from the line of Metses Sez with (Telewazia) France. Please proceed with your question.

Metses Sez:: Hello. Just one question. When we watch the trailer of (unintelligible) we could think the conclusion is very close. I mean the death of Norma. Do you think Season 3 could be the last?

Kerry Ehrin: Oh no. No. We have a roadmap for a total of five seasons. And while, you know, we all know what happens in Psycho and yes, that's a destination we have to arrive at. It will be in a different place and in a different way than what you are expecting or might be expecting.

Metses Sez:: Okay. And Vera, between Norman and Norma, who is the most dangerous for you?

Kerry Ehrin: Norman. My answer.

Vera Farmiga: Of course.

Kerry Ehrin: Because he blacks out and kills people.

Vera Farmiga: Yes. I mean if Norma kills people she's doing it with - she's fully - she's full awareness. I think there is more dangerous than not having that.

Kerry Ehrin: Yes.

Vera Farmiga: I think that this dissociative disorder is - I don't know - a - yes, Norman. It's Norman.

Metses Sez:: Do you think maybe - do you think Norma is a victim or the origin of Norman's (unintelligible)?

Vera Farmiga: Do I think she's a victim of - what was that?

Metses Sez:: She's a...


Vera Farmiga: No. I think no. I don't think she's a victim of Norman. I don't - I think what she does is - I think here greatest challenge and I think her success is not to give up. You know, she's been a victim her whole life and she's fallen prey to such tragedy and I think - no. I don't - Kerry, why don't you talk about this?

Kerry Ehrin: I'm not fully understanding the question. I'm sorry. Are you saying is she a victim of Norman - of the evil that lives inside of Norman?

Metses Sez:: Is she a victim or is she the origin of the...

Kerry Ehrin: Oh, got it.

Vera Farmiga: Or is she the victimizer? Okay. Okay.

Kerry Ehrin: I see. I see. I think that - I think she is - so has to some extent aggravated the situation by not having the tools to be strong enough to face certain things about him. And that's from her own childhood and, you know, it's - she - the thing we love about her she's always trying to best that she can.

She always has the good intention. She has a lot of crazy ways of getting there. But she's also - she is always doing the best she can. She doesn't know they're crazy. And I think that's why she's so incredibly endearing and, you know, especially played by the most endearing person in the word.

Vera Farmiga: I love you.

Metses Sez:: Okay. Thank you.

Kerry Ehrin: Thank you.

Operator: Our next last question comes from the line of Stephanie Piche with MingleMediaTV. Please proceed with your question.

Stephanie Piche: Thank you. Hello there.

Kerry Ehrin: Hi.

Stephanie Piche: I just have to say that when I asked our group, you know, what one question because we get one question to ask you what do they want me to ask, the first comment out of one of my team's mouth was, "You know, this is like a Hitchcockian Breaking Bad thing. The show's getting crazy and compelling to tell." I want to know is there going to be more - what's there going to be more of this season, murders, drugs or sex?

Kerry Ehrin: I would say...

Vera Farmiga: Murder.

Kerry Ehrin: ...equal measure.

Vera Farmiga: Yes.

Kerry Ehrin: I think that the story I mean just if you look at Psycho it's like we're telling the prequel of that and the story of someone sinking into insanity is - if you put it on a graph, it has to get more and more intense and crazy and weird as they sink further into it. You know. So yes. We're definitely getting into a very meaty part of the storytelling. And, you know, it's very exciting part of the storytelling. Vera, did you want to...

Vera Farmiga: Yes, no. I agree. I think they're yes, equal measures. There's in all sort of sex, drugs and rock and roll there's wicked bombshells thrown this year. There's some pretty rude awakening to be had. There's some flabbergasting shakeups. But I can't tell you what they are. But yes, there's going to be some extermination, some butchery, some crazy absurdity, yes. Yes.

Kerry Ehrin: (Unintelligible).


Kerry Ehrin: ...(catharacism).

Stephanie Piche: A quick follow up. Will Norma have another relationship or does she think all men are evil?

Kerry Ehrin: I don't think she thinks men are evil.

Vera Farmiga: I don't think she thinks - I don't think she does. I think she - oh Lord. I think she wants desperately to have, you know, someone sweep her off her feet and take care of her in the way that she's never had in her life. She's never had anyone like that in her life. And I think yes, she yearns for that. There's a hankering. There's a deep, deep hankering to find a man she can trust.

Kerry Ehrin: Right.

Vera Farmiga: Certainly she hasn't had that experience yet. But I think she's a hopeless romantic and yearns for it, yes. And there's a couple of good potentials this season.

Kerry Ehrin: Yes there is.

Vera Farmiga: Yes. Oh yes. Yes.

Stephanie Piche: Great. Thank you. (Enjoying it).

Vera Farmiga: We may or may not be talking capital R romantic. May or may not. But I can't say.

Stephanie Piche: (Perfect. Terrific). Thank you very much. Looking forward to it.

Vera Farmiga: Sure. Thank you.

Operator: And Mr. Kim, there are no further questions at this time. I'll turn the call back to you. Please continue with your presentation or closing remarks.

Yong Kim: Okay. Well thank you. And thanks everyone for joining today's call. Once again, Season 3 of Bates Motel premiere is this upcoming Monday, March 9 at 9:00, 8:00 Central on A&E. And I'm sure you're all caught up but if you need refreshers for Season 1 and 2, they're currently available on Netflix and on demand.

Special thanks to Vera, Kerry and Carlton for taking the time today. And I hope everyone has a great weekend. And if you need transcripts, please email me and I will send them to you as soon as I have them. Thanks again. Thank you everyone.

Kerry Ehrin: Thanks Yong.

Vera Farmiga: Thanks Yong. Thanks everyone.

Kerry Ehrin: Thank you. Bye.

Vera Farmiga: Bye there.

Operator: Ladies and gentlemen, that does conclude the conference call for today. We thank you for your participation and ask that you please disconnect your lines.


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