The Hollywood Reporter: What drew you to do Bates?
Carlton Cuse:As an artist, when an idea gets under my skin, they just do. When [producer] Universal approached me and said, ‘Would you consider rebooting the Psycho franchise?’ I started thinking about it and getting more and more ideas. This idea of doing it as a contemporary prequel was really was engaging. I kept thinking about it and that’s usually my testament. I’ve been getting a ton of ideas since Lost; most of the time, I don’t end up thinking about them. But this one, I did. I came up with a bunch of ideas and pitched them to Universal and A&E and everyone was really excited about moving forward with it. Then Universal put Kerry and I together, and we sat down and started from scratch. Our ideas lined up incredibly well. We have slightly different skill sets and different backgrounds as writers. This show has elements of Lost and Friday Night Lights in it; it meshes in a really interesting fashion with an element of Twin Peaks, which we’re both inspired by.
THR: You also gave Norman an older brother.
Cuse: Norman’s half-brother a new character to the mythology who for us was a window into this intense, mother-son relationship. What better way to observe it than through the third party of this other brother who is kind of an outsider.
THR: Was there anything that was off limits to you both?
Cuse: The idea of doing an homage — neither one of us wanted to feel like we had to lock into the cannon of the previous Psycho movies. We wanted to take these characters and come up with our own mythology about how they were connected to each other; what was going to make Norman the guy he was going to become. Immediately we both thought, We’re not going to slavishly owe ourselves to the preexisting mythology. That was liberating. There’s this expectation that: Norman was berated by his mother into becoming crazy and that wasn’t interesting to us. What was much more interesting was creating this positive, loving, 1940s movie kind of relationship for these two.
THR: Will you be paying homage to Hitchcock at all?
Cuse: There will definitely be some little Easter eggs. What we don’t want to do is have people get thrown out of the storytelling and go, “Oh, there’s an homage to Hitchcock.”