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Go Behind the Scenes of Bates Motel

The (re)making of a classic set.

Monday, April 01, 2013


A prequel to Hitchcock's Psycho that takes place in the present day, A&E's Bates Motel follows a teenage Norman Bates (Freddie Highmore), who comes unhinged as he tries to deal with his domineering mother (Vera Farmiga) while juggling the usual adolescent stressors of first crushes and high-school hierarchy. Though the era is different, the set had to be faithful to the 1960 original for the premise to work. Here's how production designer Mark Freeborn, fresh off the set of Breaking Bad, re-created the iconic motel and the ominous Victorian house just outside of Vancouver.

Motel Upgrades
"We wanted to keep the iconography of the motel and the house but not let it slip back into the past. So we approached it by saying, 'What would wear out first and how would they replace it?' So the lamps change up a little here and there, and we add things like digital clocks. Wherever we can, we add contemporary touches."

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