Bates Motel stars Ryan Hurst, Kenny Johnson, and Max Thieriot took some time to chat about their characters and so much more during a recent press call. This season has been fantastic. Chick is my favorite new addition to the cast. It’s also great to see a nice Sons of Anarchy reunion. That was one hell of a fall that Caleb took. Don’t miss a single epsidoe of Bates Motel, which airs Monday nights at 9/8c on A&E.
Q: Who do you think are the most suspicious characters?
Ryan: No, what I love about this show is that, you know, you’re suspicious of everybody. You know, it’s like you’re turning in and it’s always like trust no one. You know. But, you know, that’s it’s that they kind of, you know, is that they create Pecos and then suspicion of, you know, around all of the characters (unintelligible) for everybody.
Q: Max, Dylan has kind of run the gamut since this character was introduced and now for lack of a better way to say it, he’s the more favored brother. Can you talk a little bit about Dylan since he arrived and where he is now?
Max Thieriot: Yes. It’s funny, you know, because when first got the script, I think I was sent like three and in all of them Dylan kind of shows up and he’s – I mean he’s really prick. Like he shows up and he’s really rude to his mom, which doesn’t really jive very well with me. And like I kind of just didn’t get it from the beginning and my initial thought was wow, everybody’s going to hate this guys. Like I show up, I’m a total dick to everybody. Like what, you know, what’s redeeming about this guy. But, you know, Carlton and Carrie really kind of know what they’re doing and had an obviously a bigger picture and plan and he just kind of said look, like, you know, it’s all going to change and he’s really going to kind of evolve. And so I sort of, you know, took the jump there and it’s been cool because all of a sudden, you know, we’ve seen him change and become like the leader of the drug cartel in town and, you know, we’ve seen him change and bond with this mom and his brother. And, you know, ultimately like, in a way, I don’t know, Dylan is kind of like this sort of sign of hope in the show, I mean. We also don’t know his fate and so, you know, we know what’s going to happen to Norma. We know what’s going to happen to Norm. And so he kind of gives, I guess a little sense of hope. That like something good can come out of all this. I don’t know.
Q: Kenny, how is it to walk this fine line as Caleb has become much more sympathetic while also admitting to some horrible behavior. Can you talk a little bit about playing that role?
Kenny Johnson: Yes. I mean for me, I mean I don’t want to say about Max is when I first started watching the show, was a huge fan of it and one of my favorite characters was Max’s character because I didn’t know anything about him. He was that mystic to the whole thing and I think it’s pretty amazing, you know, where his character has come and how like you say, he’s bonded now with Norman and Norma more. He just seems like – he’s like this opened vessel, right. You feel so much through. And I think he’s doing an amazing job. You know, for me with Caleb, I just, you know, I mean I just wanted to humanize him. And, you know, and I thought don’t look at him as what everybody keeps saying he is. Look at him as a human being who obviously has made this pretty horrific mistake back in the day, you know, and not really having to explain the circumstances around it or what lead up to it or defending himself. He’s just trying to, you know, 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 found out he had a son. And now he’s trying to find some sort of something. I think he’s still searching himself for some kind of forgiveness and, you know, it doesn’t mean that he has to be forgiven but, you know, he’s a human being so I just try to humanize it for myself as much as I can without, you know, judging it. Oh yes, and I just got to say, Max is an unbelievable actor to play opposite of because he’s nonjudgmental and open that it allows me to have a lot more kind of pull out of me. I mean, you know, so.
Q: Max, do you think that Emma and Dylan can be together in the show?
Max Thieriot: Do I think that Emma and Dylan can be together on the show? I don’t know. You know, I think anything’s possible. But I think that’s, you know, for me that’s has kind of always been an interesting idea and, you know, I don’t know, I always kind of thought that it’d be interesting if they explored that. You know, because they’re both kind of like in a way the outsiders of – on the outside of this relationship between Norma and Norman and they’re always kind of kept a little bit on the outside, you know, and so I thought that be – I thought it’d be interesting if they could be so. I don’t know. You never know. I think it’d be fun to watch.
Q: Is there something in Dylan that you identify with or find in yourself?
Max Thieriot: I don’t know. I mean, I guess definitely – there’s definitely some stuff. I think, you know, for me family is such an important thing. You know, maybe the most important thing in my life. And I think, you know, obviously no matter what Dylan goes through and how he’s treated and everything he always sort of comes back to his family and wants family. I guess that’s a similarity.
Q: What do you like most or least about where your character is going?
Kenny Johnson: Well I mean I definitely – I mean I like that Caleb’s come back and he’s kind of searching for, you know, some sort of sense of family and self and maybe getting to – obviously getting to his son, who didn’t want anything to do with him. Wanted to get to know his sister last season who didn’t want anything to do with him. So I like the fact that there’s slowly, like a slow burn of real time of earning trust, you know, between the characters a little bit. You know, and they keep testing it and putting it out there. So there’s something about that, that’s really interesting and intriguing because you don’t know which way Dylan’s character is going to react. You know, and basically they keep kind of writing to put Caleb’s heart on the line. Like the speech – it’s just not be like – yes, to just be sincere and honest and humble and just go from there and it’s been pretty wild. And then, you know, Ryan’s character thrown in the mix of it is obviously a bit of a threat, a bit of a, you know, a whole past history that comes up. And this karma is just really unsettling but it’s fun to play with and explore with Ryan. So I really dig what they ‘re – we’re doing with Ryan’s character to Dylan and myself.
Ryan Hurst: I mean the thing that I always like is just is – I’m always a fan of characters whether they’re large of small and, you know, that bringing in emotion that’s a little difficult to capture and, you know, ambiguity I think is the name of the game when you’re talking about a mystery or thriller. And to kind of being in that space of knowing, you know, of the interaction between the characters and also with the audience they don’t emotionally quite know where to stand with somebody. Whether to trust them, whether to be afraid, whether to not be afraid, I think that’s always place to hang out and them so that’s what I like most about Chick. And that he gets to wear cut off shorts and wool socks, so.
Max Thieriot: No Chick, is a really cool character and really interesting. And speaking of having Ryan on. I think we were all really excited, Kenny and I and everybody else when we heard that Ryan was going to be on the show. And as far as Dylan how he’s gone. I don’t know. I think, you know, sort of transformation that he’s made throughout the season has been all really interesting and fun for me and, you know, one of the things about Dylan is he’s like constantly has this battle of ups and downs. I mean like, he shows up and everything’s pretty bad and then, you know, he financially he starts to improve his situation and he starts to build his relationship with Norma. Norman, and it’s like every time, you know, that it seems like that they’re getting closer something happens that kind of breaks it apart. And then all of a sudden you introduce his dad into the equation and it’s kind of brought this whole other element, you know. Where before he obviously like had love for his mom and always wanted her love. But now, you know, now that Caleb’s in the picture he’s just like – it’s fascinating and the way Kenny plays it is so amazing because he’s. So like sensitive and kind and caring and even though, you know, Dylan has – Dylan knows what he knows about his dad to a certain extent, he has so many qualities about him that are so like magnetic to Dylan. I don’t know. It’s been fun. It’s been a lot of fun to see, you know, all of the changes and just kind of keep riding the wave, you know.
Q: Max, how much of everything that Dylan has been told about his father, that he knows about his father – how much of all that about Caleb do you think he actually believes at this point?
Max Thieriot: Well, that’s hard. You know, I think in the beginning obviously he didn’t believe all that much of it because Norma kind of definitely has a way of being very dramatic and sort of making up a lot of stuff. But you know, obviously when they have the conversation when they sit down at the table out at the farm. I mean he asks him straight up, and Caleb is honest and, you know, I think that even though, you know, Caleb may have sort of like a shady past. And a little bit of a – I guess a little bit of a dark side to him. Dylan can – I think Dylan can kind of see Caleb’s heart and is able to see that like he’s being truthful and he’s being honest and, you know, sincere with him and I think he’s just able to see, I guess, you know, he’s able to see all the good that’s in him.
Q: Is Dylan going to take – depending upon what Norma does essentially is he going to take the high road or the low road? It seems like he’s either going to go the family way or he’s going to take Chick’s way which I think we kind of think isn’t the high road.
Max Thieriot: I guess. I don’t know. It’s interesting because like I think Caleb constantly battles with this obviously Norma and Norman not really approving of him being around for the most part. But he wants so badly to – just to have everything be okay. And to be a part of this family and to be a part of Dylan’s life. It’s – your question is like really something that’s totally going to be explored and stuff. So yes, you’re going to find all of that out.
Ryan Hurst: I’m just going to jump in there and the one thing that I think is beautiful about, you know, these, you know, about what these two guys are doing as actors and the thing that the show creates is that the trajectory of both of these characters is, you know, is not straight forward. You know, it’s not just like that they have this very specific goal and it’s whether they’re going to get it or not. Yes and they get, you know, and it’s a real sort of rich tapestry that they’re sort of, you know, that they’re growing along with the series. And like the fact that you’re asking that question means that they’re doing their job really, really, really well.
Q: Have any of you ever had something like boar jerky.
Ryan Hurst: I’ve never had boar jerky.
Kenny Johnson: Yes, we had – one of the guys on the set, right around then came up with – Max, what was it? Elk?
Max Thieriot: It was Elk jerky and sausage.
Kenny Johnson: And sausage. It was amazing. There was a guy who makes it by himself dude. It was phenomenal. I mean…
Q: Max, if you were writing the show how would you like to see Dylan’s relationship evolve and ultimately resolve with Norman?
Max Thieriot: If I was writing the show at the end the biggest – the big reveal would be that Dylan kills Norman and wears his skin and then he actually becomes Norm. Boom. Drop the mike. Everybody mind is blown. I don’t know. To answer your question, honestly I don’t know how I would write it because it’s so – I don’t know. Yes. I mean Norman obviously eventually ends up by himself. But how does he get there? Does he kill everybody? Is, you know, does he – is everybody eventually, you know, a piece of taxidermy or taxidermy art or whatever in the house. Who knows. But I don’t know. I think that they’ve been so kind of creative up until this point that – I don’t know. I’ve heard some of the ideas for – four and five and stuff and they’re definitely really cool and exciting.
Q: What can you preview for us for the rest of the season? What’s something that people should look forward to?
Ryan Hurst: I’m leaving it up to you guys. You guys do all the heavy lifting.
Max Thieriot: More of – I mean I think all the family dynamics just get tested even more. I mean I think they probably keep going, Carrie and Carlton have a great way of just going in these directions and then pulling you back into a completely opposite direction. And it just the push pull type of thing is pretty amazing for the characters and also, you know, the family dynamic. I mean I’m always – I’m just fascinated and intrigued by the family dynamic and they just push it about as far as I think they could. Obviously because it’s Bates Motel. You know.
Kenny Johnson: I think also like you can obviously expect like a good cliff hanging finish, you know, that I think everybody will be really excited to see and shocked by. And for me what’s kind of cool is like this season we sort of really start to see Norman start, you know, to unravel. And he’s like – it seems like every episode he starts to lose it just a little more and just a little more. So I think, you know, by the end of the season three – he’s changed a lot since season one and I think it’s cool because I think, you know, something – obviously the audience is wanting to see happen.
Max Thieriot: And he, you know, I mean Freddy does an amazing job this year with his transformation I think he’s, you know, elevated it to a whole new place and like Max says, between now and the end of the season it’s just going to take you to yet again a whole other place. And also Ryan, you’re going to find out a lot more about Chick. You’re going to find out a lot more. Man. Who is this guy?
Bates Motel airs Monday nights at 9/8c on A&E.