'Bates Motel': Michael Vartan on the TV show that really scared him
This week, Michael Vartan joins A&E’s Bates Motel as George, the brother of Norma’s new friend Christine (Rebecca Creskoff), who takes an interest in Norma. “What’s funny about George is that I was told absolutely nothing. Literally, until the third or fourth episode, he didn’t have a last name, he didn’t have a profession, [I] didn’t really know if he was a good or a bad guy. So it was kinda fun to go into it with literally no expectations,” Vartan says. “In those first few episodes, Vera [Farmiga] and I used to make things up: He was a ballet instructor. He had a wooden leg. He was born without a penis. All that kind of stuff. So it was fun times.”
Did he pitch anything to producers? “This is actually really dark, but Vera and I thought it would actually be a very interesting idea for when she comes over to his house on one of their dates, [if] he just has a bunch of weird Nazi memorabilia, and you never talked about it. It’s never mentioned. It’s just there,” he says. “I thought that’d be such a cool, creepy thing. But they didn’t go for it. They thought it was a little too much.”
Though he can’t tease too much about George, who seems like a decent guy — “It is Bates Motel, and as we know,” he says, “things are rarely as they appear, so you’ll just have to watch and see” — he can hint at how Norman (Freddie Highmore) will take to him. “George is trying very hard to seduce Norma, and Norman obviously is not a big fan of that. So one of the things that I think is gonna be so interesting in season 2 is there’s gonna be a little distance between Norma and Norman,” he says. “He’s becoming a man, and his natural tendency is to want to leave the nest and she’s got a grip on him. He’s seeing young women, she doesn’t like that. Now, of course, she’s seeing George, and Norman doesn’t like that at all. I think he might have a few bad things in store for George…”
Since George will remain a mystery, we thought we’d get to know Michael better with an EW Pop Culture Personality Test. Watch the video below to find out his first celebrity crush (the photo might be a spoiler), his junior high jam, a moment he was starstruck, and the TV show that scared him. Badly.
Bates Motel airs Mondays at 10 p.m. ET on A&E.