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Vera Farmiga says she, Freddie Highmore have healthier much bond than their 'Bates' characters

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NEW YORK, N.Y. - 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 said Highmore immediately bonded with 5-year-old Fynn in Vancouver, where "Bates Motel" is filmed and Farmiga and her family moved for the duration of the series. The Oscar-nominated actress said 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, said 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 two 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 one, 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 two, she thinks she's got her neuroses under control," Farmiga said in a recent interview.

Norma is also open to romance again with Michael Vartan ("Alias") joining the show as her love interest.

Norma, the actress said, doesn't think she has any choice but to persevere.

"You're a single mother of this child that you feel is potentially unraveling," she said of Norman, who maintains 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 said despite Norma's attempt to put a positive spin on their lives, the situation quickly worsens. Farmiga said 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."

And despite an upturn in business at the Bates Motel, work begins on that pesky bypass road that threatens to divert traffic away and Farmiga noted that "there's still a stigma attached to the property." Ever the optimist, Norma sets out to change people's minds and that means going into the community, and, Farmiga said, "That's going to be challenging for Norma."

The show premieres at 9 p.m. Eastern on March 3.

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Online:

http://www.aetv.com/bates-motel

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Follow Lauri Neff on Twitter at www.twitter.com/lneffist

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