Freddie Highmore Speaks On His Favorite Things About His Autistic Character On 'The Good Doctor'
January 14, 2019 12:17 By Fabiosa
Do you remember that cute little boy who starred in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Finding Neverland, and August Rush?
That’s Freddie Highmore, and he didn’t suffer the fate of many other child actors – his popularity hasn’t faded. The young actor switched from the big screen to TV and earned critical acclaim for his portrayal of Norman Bates on the hit A&E show Bates Motel, a modern prequel to Psycho.
Freddie then made a smooth transition to a character who is, in a way, the opposite of Bates. He plays Shaun Murphy, a surgeon with autism and savant syndrome, on ABC show The Good Doctor.
Freddie on what he likes about his character
Freddie was the right pick for the role. He prepared for it carefully before the filming, and his acting has earned praise from the autism community. The actor spoke to Gold Derby about his character that so many find relatable. Explaining Shaun’s likeability, he said:
I guess it’s maybe the optimism of Shaun. That’s certainly what I like about him, his hopeful outlook on the world, the fact that he’s always trying to see the good in people. He’s not immediately judgmental.
Before the filming began, Freddie educated himself about autism by reading books and watching documentaries about the condition, as the show’s creator, David Shore, recommended (on a side note, Shore also created another hit medical drama, House).
But what helped the actor even more in his preparation for the role was his personal experience with autism – he knows some people with the condition and he’s close to them, he said in the interview.
Speaking about his character’s evolution on the show, Freddie said:
It’s a journey of self-discovery for Shaun and understanding where his weaknesses may lie. I think in many ways he’s probably sailed through a lot of the more technical or exam-related material in his younger years and despite difficulties with social interaction, for example, they haven’t quite been put to the test as much as the practical hospital environment requires…. [I]t’s him finding some form of independence and working at the person and the doctor that he wants to be and what he sees as important…
How his character is opening up
The show was such a hit it was renewed for season two. In an interview with Seth Meyers before the season premiered, Freddie spoke about how his character is adapting:
Hopefully, people will continue to find Shaun entertaining, but the most important thing is that he’s authentic… Of course, he’ll always have autism but he’s changing constantly. I think in this first episode we see a little bit more of his sense of humor, he’s gonna get a little bit more confident in opening up to people… It’s great to play a character who does change and who does evolve.
Bravo to the great actor who shows autism as it is, in all its complexity! Hopefully, we’ll see more of his brilliant character in season 3 and more seasons to come.