Make your reservations now - A&E's new drama series Bates Motel will be open for business on Monday, March 18 at 10:00 PM.
At the Television Critics Association's winter press tour in Pasadena, California, on Friday, the producers announced the premiere date and also discussed the 10-episode serialized story, which is inspired by Alfred Hitchcock's 1960 masterpiece Psycho rather than a direct prequel. Set in a contemporary world complete with iPhones, Bates Motel will recount the early life of Norman Bates (Freddie Highmore) and his complicated relationship with his overbearing mother Norma, portrayed by Academy Award nominee Vera Farmiga.
"We did not want to do an homage to Psycho, we wanted to take these characters and set-up as inspiration," explained showrunner Carlton Cuse, a recipient of the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award for his work on ABC's Lost. "The mythology that you think is what dictates the relationship between Norma and Norman is not what it's going to turn out to be."
The project, which bypassed the pilot stage and was picked up straight to series by A&E, will document Norman's formative years and how he became the murderous psychopath depicted on screen by Anthony Perkins in the famous film (and by Vince Vaughn in the infamous shot-for-shot 1998 remake directed by Gus Van Sant).
"This is a tragedy, it's a fantastic dramatic form," Cuse said. "We want the audience to fall in love with these characters, particularly Norman. That tension of knowing what their fate is and how they get there, was something we thought was really telling."
"We know he's a tragic figure," he added. "I love Titanic and the idea that you're rooting for Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet to survive despite the fact that you know they're not going to -- that's the feeling we're going for here. … The specific way in which their tragic fate plays out will be of our own invention."
In addition to the drama between mother and son, there are other mysteries brewing in the titular hotel, including an old notebook that young Norman discovers containing the chilling tale of a girl's torture. Could this be the impetus for his brutal ways?
"We all know where he's going to end up – but is that because of his upbringing? Is it nature vs. nurture? Or is it because they moved to this dodgy town?" contemplated the actor behind young Norman, Freddie Highmore. "Or is it because of the intimate relationship between Norma and Norman? If I had had the upbringing Norman had, would I have been slightly different? We all go a little mad sometimes."
Indeed we do. Will you be going mad for Bates Motel?