Interview: Bates Bad Boys Talk to Boom Howdy

Talking about Bates Motel with a friend of mine, she told me she has a feeling that something bad is going to happen to one of the show’s most popular characters, Norman’s brother, Dylan.  If you think about it, Norman eventually ends up by himself.  Does that mean he’s going to kill everyone to whom he’s close?

In a telephone interview last Thursday (April 9, 2015), I asked the actor who plays Dylan, Max Thieriot, “If you were writing the show, how would you like to see Dylan’s relationship with Norman evolve and ultimately resolve?”

Thieriot hilariously responded, “If I was writing the show, at the end, the big reveal would be that Dylan kills Norman and wears his skin and then he actually becomes Norman.  Boom!  Drop the mike!  Everybody’s mind is blown!”

When the laughter calmed down among Thieriot and other conference call participants, actors Kenny Johnson (Caleb) and Ryan Hurst (Chick), Thieriot attempted to seriously answer the question.  “Honestly I don’t know how I would write it. I mean Norman obviously eventually ends up by himself. But how does he get there? Is everybody eventually a piece of taxidermy or taxidermy art or whatever in the house?”

He continued, “I think that they’ve been so creative up until this point… I’ve heard some of the ideas for (seasons) four and five and they’re definitely really cool and exciting.”

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The frustrating thing about interviews with actors from hit TV shows is that the people asking questions want to know what’s going to happen next, but the actors are forbidden from giving spoilers.  Instead of plot points, you get cryptic responses like:

Johnson, “You can explain episode six and then she’ll know.”

Thieriot, “You know, I think honestly episode six answers that entire question.”

In fact, episode six was referenced several times during the interview.  Airing tonight (Monday, April 13), I’ve seen episode six (Norma Louise) and it’s fantastic.  There is equal advancement of the subplots and burning questions are answered; it’s kind of like a mini-season finale.

So, when actors can’t talk about the story, they talk a lot about their characters.  One of the newest, perhaps most suspicious characters is that of Chick, played by Ryan Hurst.  After Johnson spoke at length about how the arrival of Chick affects Bates Motel, Hurst added:

“What I love about this show is that you’re suspicious of everybody. You know, you’re tuning in and it’s always like trust no one.  It’s the way they create pathos and then suspicion around all of the characters for everybody.

“I think the character serves a lot of different purposes in terms of the narrative and also in terms of bringing out different parts of Dylan and Caleb.  It’s like you’re never going to really get a real firm footing with regards to what Chick’s real motive is.”

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Talking about Dylan’s arc on the show, Thieriot had quite a bit to say:  “When I first got the script, I think I was sent three, and in all of them Dylan shows up and he’s… I mean, he’s really a prick.  He’s really rude to his mom, which doesn’t jive very well with me.

“I just didn’t get it from the beginning and my initial thought was, wow, everybody’s going to hate this guy. What’s redeeming about this guy?  But (creators) Carlton (Cuse) and Kerri (Ehren) really know what they’re doing and had an obviously bigger picture and plan.  It’s all going to change and he’s really going to kind of evolve.

“So I sort of took the jump there and it’s been cool because all of a sudden we’ve seen him change and become the leader of the drug cartel in town and we’ve seen him change and bond with this mom and his brother.  Ultimately, in a way, Dylan is like this sort of sign of hope in the show. We also don’t know his fate.  We know what’s going to happen to Norma. We know what’s going to happen to Norman.  And so he kind of gives, I guess, a little sense of hope… that something good can come out of all this.”

Johnson spoke about the fine line Caleb walks between becoming more sympathetic while admitting to some horrible behavior.  “I just wanted to humanize him.  I don’t look at him as what everybody keeps saying he is.  I look at him as a human being who obviously has made this pretty horrific mistake back in the day, and not really having to explain the circumstances around it or what lead up to it or defending himself.

“He’s just trying to, I’m not going to say redeem himself, but do some good while he’s still here. And he’s obviously got a conscious that made him come back to this place and find out he had a son.  I think he’s still searching himself for some kind of forgiveness and, it doesn’t mean that he has to be forgiven but, he’s a human being so I just try to humanize it for myself as much as I can without judging it.”

Finally, Hurst talked about Chick.  “I’m always a fan of characters, whether they’re large of small, that bring in emotion that’s a little difficult to capture.  Ambiguity is the name of the game when you’re talking about a mystery or thriller.  Whether to trust them, whether to be afraid, whether to not be afraid… that’s what I like most about Chick.

“And that he gets to wear cut off shorts and wool socks.”

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