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‘Bates’ mother-son drama never strays off screen


– In the television show “Bates Motel,” Vera Farmiga’s character has a dysfunctional relationship with her future serial killer son, Norman, played by Freddie Highmore.

In reality, Farmiga says, she and Highmore share a much healthier bond: He’s even her child’s godfather.

Farmiga says Highmore immediately bonded with 5-year-old Fynn in Vancouver, British Columbia, where “Bates Motel” is filmed and where Farmiga and her family moved for the duration of the series.

The Oscar-nominated actress says Highmore, whose family is in London, has become something of a surrogate son himself, playing swords and Legos with Fynn on the weekends.

Farmiga, who also has a 3-year-old daughter with her husband, musician Renn Hawkey, says Highmore has become such a fixture in Fynn’s life that she and her husband decided it’s “a relationship that deserves the title.”

On screen, though, the relationship will not go as smoothly between Farmiga’s character, Norma Bates, and her son in Season 2 of A&E’s modern-day “Psycho” prequel.

Farmiga says Norma seems optimistic at the start of the season, despite the violent and deadly encounters of Season 1, her reveal that she was sexually abused as a child and the question of whether Norman murdered his high school teacher.

“At the beginning of Season 2, she thinks she’s got her neuroses under control,” Farmiga said.

Norma is also open to romance again with Michael Vartan, who joins the show as her love interest. She doesn’t think she has any choice but to persevere, the actress said.

“You’re a single mother of this child that you feel is potentially unraveling,” she said of Norman, who indulges his newfound interest in taxidermy in the hotel basement.

Anyone familiar with “Psycho” knows this is a story that doesn’t end well, and Farmiga says that despite Norma’s attempt to put a positive spin on their lives, the situation quickly worsens.

Farmiga says the teacher’s death “is a big source of this orientation and terror for Norman, which in turn Norma will try to sort of solve.”

The season premieres at 9 p.m. today.