Call it casting against type.
Though he made his career starring as the innocent, fresh-faced protagonists in films such as 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' and 'August Rush,' British actor Freddie Highmore is going darker for his next role. The 20-year-old actor (who now looks more like Noel Gallagher than his 12-year-old-self) signed on to star in the upcoming A&E drama Bates Motel. He'll be playing the now iconic role of Norman Bates, which was originally played by Anthony Perkins in Alfred Hitchcock's original 1960 film.
Bates Motel will serve as a prequel to Psycho, showing the transformation of Norman into the mentally fragmented serial killer who stabbed Janet Leigh to death in the infamous shower scene. The series, executive produced by former LOST showrunner Carlton Cuse and Friday Night Lights' Kerry Ehrin, is slated to air its ten-episode first season on A&E sometime next year.
Highmore joins the already cast Vera Farmiga, who will portray his mother, Norma. By the time we see her in Psycho, she's long dead, though her apparently overbearing influence in Norman's life caused him to develop a split personality -- one half of which was his mother.
Highmore's no stranger to playing dual roles -- he was lauded for "skillfully portray[ing] two distinctive personas," in the 2008 film The Spiderwick Chronicles, back when he was only 16. Now 20, the actor will perhaps be up for his most scrutinized role yet.
What do you think? Is Highmore a good Norman Bates, or do you think A&E should have gone with someone different?
Bates Motel will premiere on A&E sometime next year.