Roughly 72 hours after the end of “Bates Motel,” A&E’s psychological horror drama, its star, Freddie Highmore, signed on to a new ABC series, “The Good Doctor.” Can you blame him? Based on a South Korean TV show of the same name, it was developed by David Shore (“House”), with Highmore cast as Dr. Shaun Murphy, a savant autistic surgical resident at a San Jose hospital.
Moreover, Highmore, now 26, was offered the chance, as he puts it, “to be involved on more than just an acting level,” meaning to produce as well as write and direct, as he had with “Bates.” “It seems odd to put so much of yourself into a season, then say, ‘I’ll see you in five months,” says Highmore, a former child actor best known for the title role in Tim Burton’s 2005 “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.”
Recently, Highmore, who nabbed a Golden Globe nomination for his truly moving “Good Doctor” performance, talked about why he’s glad to be London born, the genesis of Shaun’s clasped hands and how those with autism are often lumped together rather than seen as individuals. “The phrase that’s common in the autistic community,” says Highmore, quoting “Good Doctor” consultant Melissa Reiner, “is, ‘When you’ve met a person with autism, you’ve met a person with autism.’”