After casting Freddie Highmore and Norman Bates, the next challenge would be casting Norma Bates. Since we had never met the mother before casting the perfect actress for the part was essential, she had to have a lot of chemistry with Highmore but also able to adapt to the manipulative mother that fuels Norman’s mental health issues.
Farmiga brings both these things and more to the role. When Highmore and Farmiga share a scene you can really feel the creepy sexual tension between the on screen mother and son, which shows off the close connection they have built over the years. When Dylan, Norma’s other son, arrives on the scene Norma and Normans closeness becomes more clear when Dylan has very little to do with his mother.
Every girl that Norman is connected to Norma disapproves of, but the real talent is in Farmiga’s facial expressions. Whenever she sees Norman with a new girl you can see both panic and worry in her eyes, both for the thought of losing him and the worry he might hurt the girl. Vera really captures this perfectly with just her eyes alone, not to mention her body language.
The most recent situation Vera Farmiga managed to capture Norma Bates perfectly was when she found out Norman was having black outs and stops him from taking his driving test. Showing upset, relief and panic at the same time takes some amount of talent, talent which Farmiga really has.
Around others Norma has to keep her head held high and show none of the other emotions outright. I know very few actors that can genuinely show worry, fear, pain and happiness all at the same time, which is why the role had to be cast so well. Farmiga is perfect in this sense, as I keep saying she gets the emotion if Norma bang on and never fails to please.
We had to have someone who we envisioned as Norma, so looks were just as important as emotion and ability. Norma has to look sweet but be sour on the inside, she had to suit certain clothing and look similar to Dylan and Norman. Farmiga ticks all the boxes she looks sweet but you can see she has a dark side, she suits 50’s styled clothing which adds to the sweet mother feel about her, and she definitely looks like Max Thierot (Dylan), not is much like Highmore though, but can put that down to him looking like his father.
In conclusion, Vera Farmiga is exactly what I would expect Norma Bates to look and act like. This show is incredibly well cast with every character but Farmiga stands out due to her being absolutely perfectly cast as the mother if Norman Bates.
What do you think of Vera Farmiga in the role?