Thanks to innate talent, good timing and a talent agent mother, Freddie Highmore blossomed rather quickly into a fine actor by the time he was 12 year-old when he starred in the wildly successful remake, "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" (2005). Prior to his film-stealing turn as the lucky lad who wins a golden ticket good for one tour of Willy Wonka's wondrous chocolate factory, Highmore established himself as a young actor to watch with his pivotal performance in the Oscar-nominated "Finding Neverland" (2004). Even his co-stars were impressed with Highmore's ability: Johnny Depp later encouraged director Tim Burton to cast him in "Chocolate Factory" and Kate Winslet called him the best child actor she had ever seen. Despite early success, however, Highmore stated he had no plans to pursue a career in acting; luckily for his fans, that never came to pass, with Highmore going on to appear in films such as "Master Harold...and the Boys" (2010) and starring as a teenage Norman Bates in the drama "Bates Motel" (FX 2013-17).
Originally from Britain, Highmore was born into a showbiz family-his father starred in the '80s television drama, "Howard's Way," and his mother was a high-powered talent agent whose client list includes Imelda Staunton. He made his acting debut in "Women Talking Dirty" (1999), playing the son of a woman (Helena Bonham Carter) recently estranged from her commitment-phobic French lover. Highmore then played a young King Arthur in the made-for-TV miniseries, "The Mists of Avalon" (TNT, 2001), a revisionist take on the Arthurian legends that depicted the women of Camelot as the real power behind the throne. In another television miniseries, "Happy Birthday Shakespeare" (BBC, 2001), he played the son of a tour bus driver (Neil Morrissey) who dreams of moving his family to Stratford-upon-Avon, while his mom (Dervla Kirwan) gets sick and tired of her husband's money making schemes.
After a split-second appearance in "Jim Henson's Jack and the Beanstalk: The Real Story" (CBS, 2001), he returned to the big screen for the family-friendly adventure, "Two Brothers" (2004). Highmore played the son of a French administrator who refuses to believe that his new pal, a tiger cub, might be dangerous after having tasted blood. Following a major part alongside Kenneth Branagh and Eddie Izzard in the straight-to-video fantasy, "Five Children and It" (2004), Highmore landed the role that propelled him into the limelight in "Finding Neverland." Playing the real-life Peter Llewelyn Davies, the inspiration for author J.M. Barrie's beloved character, Peter Pan, Highmore gave a stunning and mature performance as a boy coping with the death of his father, the illness of his mother (Winslet) and the friendship of a down-and-out author (Depp) stepping perilously into his father's shoes.
More than his ability impressed the enigmatic Depp-the two established a lasting bond, as well as a mutual respect and admiration. In fact, despite the emotional depths of the story, Highmore felt the saddest part was closing shop once production was finished and going separate ways. His dream was to star in other film with Depp, and after being suggested for the lead role as Charlie Bucket in "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," his dream came true. Starring as a young lad from a poor home who wins one of five tickets for a tour of the closed-off factory, Highmore almost pulled the rug from under Depp's feet as the plucky and likeable Charlie, solidifying himself as fine young talent. Highmore then took on a film series, starring as Arthur Montgomery in "Arthur and the Invisibles" (2006) and its two sequels, "Arthur and the Revenge of Maltazard" (2009) and "Arthur 3: The War of the Two Worlds" (2010). After co-starring in a film adaptation of Athol Fugard's acclaimed play "Master Harold...and the Boys" (2010), Highmore began transitioning out of youth roles. That move was cemented with his starring turn as a teenage Norman Bates opposite Vera Farmiga in the series "Bates Motel" (FX 2013-17). Highmore next co-starred in the British war drama miniseries "Close to the Enemy" (BBC 2, 2016).
Cast (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Made acting debut as Helena Bonham Carter's Scottish son in "Women Talking Dirty"
Appeared in the CBS movie "Jack and the Beanstalk: The Real Story" starring Matthew Modine and Vanessa Redgrave
Played a young King Arthur in the TNT miniseries "The Mists of Avalon" opposite Anjelica Huston and Joan Allen
Played a French boy who adopts a young tiger cub in Jean-Jacques Annaud's "Two Brothers"
Cast in the critically acclaimed "Finding Neverland" as Peter Llewelyn Davies, the inspiration for J.M. Barrie's (Johnny Depp) classic tale 'Peter Pan'; received a SAG nomination for Best Supporting Actor
Cast in the title role for Tim Burton's "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory"; re-teamed with Johnny Depp who portrays the mad candy mogul Willy Wonka
Played a young Russell Crowe in Ridley Scott's "A Good Year"
Played a musical prodigy, the result of a one-night stand between Keri Russell's concert cellist and Jonathan Rhys Meyers' Irish rocker in "August Rush"
Portrayed identical twins, Simon and Jared, in "The Spiderwick Chronicles"
Voiced the title character in the animated feature, "Astro Boy"
Played an isolated and fatalistic teenage geek in "The Art of Getting By"
Became the star of the series "Bates Motel"
Nabbed a supporting part in the historical drama "The Journey"
Starred in the film "Holding Patterns"