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The Polished Edge: Olivia Cooke of ‘Bates Motel’ on A&E Network
Q: You play Emma Decody, a 17-year-old with cystic fibrosis. What was your first impression of her?
A: I got the (character description) for Bradley and the one for Emma, and I thought, ‘Well, I’m not sexy, so I’ll go for Emma.‘ She wasn’t much in the first episode at all, but Emma’s cool. She’s supposed to be bright; she’s eccentric, she’s adventurous, she’s spontaneous. Yet she has this disease as well, which is the total opposite of everything I’ve just explained, a life-threatening illness.
I thought it would be so interesting to play, a chance to challenge myself.
Q: Did you do research?
A: I’ve done a lot. It’s called the disease of the beautiful people, because on the outside, you can’t tell they’ve got a disease. You can only tell because she’s trailing the oxygen. We don’t lean on the cystic fibrosis too much except in times of stress, times when she’s physically exhausted. When we hike through the forest, you can see how ragged her breath is, how exhausted she is. But I didn’t want to play it up too much.
Q: How does she feel about fellow teen Norman Bates (Freddie Highmore)?
A: It’s more platonic on his side, whereas she sees him as an outcast and automatically is drawn to him. She’s got a bit of a crush. She thinks they’re kindred spirits, almost. She thinks he’s the perfect match, and he’s not into that. In the beginning, you think something might happen, but he makes it quite clear.
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