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For four seasons, audiences have been creeped out by Bates Motel, the prequel to Alfred Hitchcock's seminal thriller Psycho. The critically acclaimed drama will be premiering its fifth and final season later next year and series lead Freddie Highmore has already lined up his next project. Having played the ultimate Mother Boy in Norman Bates, Highmore will change gears and go a bit in the opposite direction. He'll be tackling real life gangster George Nelson -- otherwise known as Baby Face.
Variety has the scoop and they report that Freddie Highmore is teaming up with Bates Motel executive producer Kerry Ehrin for a show of their own creation: Baby Face. Taking place during the Great Depression in the 1930's, the project will depict the life of the notorious gangster George Nelson, who was nicknamed "Baby Face" for his youthful appearance and short stature. The drama is being described as a love story that will chronicle Nelson's rise from a small-time bank robber in Chicago to the FBI's Public Enemy No. 1.
Highmore will be taking a huge creative role on the project, having come up with the initial idea and serving as co-writer and executive producer alongside Ehrin. The drama pilot has already been sold to A&E, the network that has been the home to Bates Motel. This is the latest step from Highmore, who has been taking more creative opportunities on Bates Motel. The actor has been spending a significant amount of time in the Bates Motel writers room, having written a few episodes of the drama. He's also directing an upcoming episode of Season 5.
Depression-era Chicago was riddled with mob violence and crime, and there's been no shortage of historical gangsters with large personalities to make appearances on both TV and film. As history buffs may know, it was one of the most ruthless and corrupt places in American history, which makes for really good television. Baby Face seems to be taking a more anti-hero approach given the love story angle, but the rise to power of this specific figure is sure to end up on many future must-watch lists.
Highmore is making an interesting transition from the tortured and awkward Norman Bates to the swaggering killer of Baby Face Nelson. The actor is really stretching his chops all over the place with this show. In addition to running Bates Motel, Kerry Ehrin's writing credits include shows like Parenthood and Friday Night Lights.
In the meantime, Bates Motel will be airing its final season sometime in May 2017. After four seasons of buildup, the show will finally "go there" and do it's own rendition of Psycho. The season will put its own modern spin on the 1960's thriller, with pop star Rihanna stepping into the role of the film's most famous victim, Marion Crane.