The moment when Norma takes out years of pent up rage on Keith Summers by stabbing him over and over is an intense one, and Vera Farmiga's performance is even more amazing when you hear what she was actually looking at during the scene! Bates Motel Property Master Terry Weaver explains how they got the shot.
Vera Farmiga prepares for the stabbing scene.
"The desired effect of blood spatter on Norma's face escalating with every stab at Keith was achieved by taking a bucket, stuffing in a sponge and filling it with our movie blood. Yes, there were about a dozen samples presented at our camera tests before shooting commenced on the series to see which movie blood looked the best on film."
A great deal of time was spent making sure that the body Norma and Norman have to move from their house to the motel, and ultimately into the bay, was realistic, without being impossible to carry. Weaver says:
"For the dumping of Keith Summers' body in the ocean, it was quite a production in and of itself to create a realistic, cinematic-friendly body. We had to design a prop body that had enough weight for the actors to handle, but not too much so they couldn't lift it. It had to sink in a believable fashion, and Carlton and Tucker wanted it to not sink immediately, but bob a little at the surface, then go down.
Fake Keith Summers.
"Ultimately we came up with a body made almost entirely of poultry fencing or 'chicken wire.' It worked as we had hoped, and it also had to be light enough to retrieve easily and drain quickly for resets. Anyway, the best part was doing our sink tests in the ocean. The first tests were done off a train trestle. The next ones were done off piers in public parks. Just picture two guys carrying a 'body' wrapped in blankets, duct tape and chains headed to the waterfront from the parking lot, then dumping it in the drink. Many onlookers were picking their jaws up off the ground. The best part was when we were on tech survey and a small fleet of kayakers gawked as we dumped poor Keith's body in, over and over."
You may be wondering what the orange stuff that Norman threw up in the cafeteria was made of. Was it mac and cheese? Some kind of pudding? Wonder on, dear viewers. According to Weaver, it's a "prop secret."
Production notes courtesy of Terry Weaver, Andrea Fraser-Winsby, Tony Ng'ung'ui Kung'u, and Carmen Siegers.