'Good Doctor' star on playing an autistic character, breaking down stereotypes

Freddie Highmore appears on "Popcorn With Peter Travers" and talks about the making of the TV series "The Good Doctor."
19:13 | 02/27/19

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Transcript for 'Good Doctor' star on playing an autistic character, breaking down stereotypes
And right now. There is a show right here on ABC called the good doctor. Which has been more successful than I think any show in over decade on this network. Well let's start my guests for a personal friend welcome and thank you for the lovely introduction about the show I didn't even though that it was that that figure that you quoted sir yes well not that Idec is confident but app acts somebody handed you that information to let off the top of you don't have to I don't people treat you better now you know once they know that you showed is like a gigantic ratings getter. Don't they say mr. hunt more. Is there anything we can get you don't really I would I think thankfully things seemed to been pretty much the same as they were before tens of life and your good days but now I'd still like tying up the phone hoping that it's real popular if I haven't traded at I immediately if you let it take it makes me choke a little Erica Tug I can't have that so you can do it and just always watch this and think I wonder if that's true enough being. Position and or playing one on TV gives you authority does. You must know something in I think actually is probably blasts. Two you know if you're on a plane and someone says we need a doctor and I were to raise my hand thinking that I'd learned something from the centuries and you never as diagnoses that we've given the news it would be more dangerous than someone you know things simply because we take Lee shortcuts that's like. An eight hour operation has Dugard and fifteen minutes and so I think. I think I knew what I was doing but I have absolutely no idea oh he just. A simple procedure. Wherever in molecular and Kissinger admitted Elliott. Take out the tape and not only that but you know doctor Schoen murky black. It is autistic son so he has. This other thing going for him. And does with that whole idea that you're playing somebody with autistic. Ringed if no of responsibility. To what you're doing much more than if you were back on Bates motel playing Norman Bates. You know a fictional character. This is also a fictional actor but. Again there's dias autism that's in there what do you do. When you take on a park like that what would you research. I mean David shore. I'll wonderful name used by terror and show run. Sat down. Before the pine analysts and between the pilot and making the show with the consultant that we still have on board. And also just traded. Back and full. Books and pieces of literature and documentaries that we thought why useful Davis some sort of insight into building this one's very particular. Character. It's wonderful to see somebody who suffers from this to him emotionally. Relate what who cannot tell. Yes that's what you want for patent each so much trouble for just not telling a lie to. And I and I also love how the how shall and is changing over time to not something that David and I expect about from the very beginnings being essentially this it. In the pilot. Feels like way back planners were in. Just on the team to get through it feels like eight back to back when I was young. That was 918 to hand and he was in. This big city environment avenue from the countryside for the very first time in adjusting to this whole new one and obviously that. In essence that he had been at the situation. Changes over time and just because Schoen it's stating the obvious but just because he does waters and that dozens and grow and change is upon us and. And so. I guess one of the things I'm most proud of them the first couple of seasons is that we've managed to. Show how he is progressing and landing and we get a little bit law which you kind of hinted that like a bit more of the fun and his sense of humor. Coming out. It was a episode were with people and where he inducted last and that Richard Schiff prison brilliantly. When you both get high yes that is because you're taking is we hill is asking for nausea and pain and there's just something terrific about watching you can play with. And his plate with the characters do it I also love how the show will stop. When doctor Sean Murphy has this idea and we seen the visuals that are just what's going through its. Then what happens. Now so that's yes let's do it look at it okay and those poor benighted souls that haven't won. We'll know what we're talking so let's look at this. Tara Lynn. I have an idea I'd like to share even though doctor Holland and asking a question. Get going to jump. If we go in through the atrium we wouldn't have to worry about this who treated the same issue we discussed. There's not enough room inside the baby's heart to stitch the patches in the play who you don't need to doctor harmed. We can make a punt small enough for her heart and peaked yet he disk with a stand like a mushroom and we can insert the stem through one of the holes until the disc presses against the wall covering all the holes. Thought that determined on the better coach that's that's one of the trickiest things so here is just that everyone says just wrapping one's tongue around. What whatever he got but this particular episode and directed. Yes I know I'm watching it thinking oh it is I think you can light sweet or animal. I just continue to agitate others a couple of frames here and that. And you get four days of its users to connect cure it all how to beat. You know but I don't know watt directing does to people because every director of ever interviewed or watch it then that's a different. These are actors that you've been working for two seasons and you've written the first episode season yet as well but now your push them around. What are you are you would dictate. I've got to. We've got an what with the exhibits is probably yes what was the key you know like I genuinely just and I got to do but there's things on basement toes while and just. Contributing to this not in that wiped away. Makes it even mall for failing yes that that the directing was it was good fun apparently I directed my British. Acts and announcements in south side trying to say American as much as possible. On sat a lot of midget eighteen Brit thing you're Scituate this preparation for your next role yes. Yeah exactly what is yet this is its candidate that directs a news now speech and speaks for must be I mean you have to be teased about it onset. What you go when you're doing it acted and you go back to your regular. I think it was the music hopefully it was this it was very very endearing instead of adding to the dictates they like quality is suggesting that I have. Sometimes you can get people on the set even when you're enjoying the show and just aren't going with the plot. Yeah that yes and then you off to deal with that just as much as you have to deal with everybody getting along Denton and doing something like this. But. There is and I can say this because it's happened from the beginning of season two where. He is polled by a lot of these new administrators doing ridiculous claim the new chief of surgery. That doctor Sean Murphy can't communicate. There's optimism he can't they want him to be in some other aspect of something and he says this. I'm surgical rats then this is who plans what my identity. That's a very strong theme of the show that he wants to be yes. Yes yeah and that's what he's set his life. And opt in order it's in order to do it's been his goal since. You know for many years potentially since when his brother died I guess was that was that inspirational meant to him what he thought this is what I want to do. I want to help it but I want to send people. And you have to feel it you have revealed that emotion and yet you playing somebody you can't breath that the most. I think yeah I mean that's that's obviously one of the. I guess and not that not that you are in any way suggesting this but I think one of the misconceptions sometimes about people who want to and some now. Devoid of emotion or motion missile that because they can't. Always expressed their emotions that there's nothing going on inside and of course that's Austrians are. What's wonderful about asking him to tell the story on television camera that can see everything that's going on inside. Is that. As long as you're playing it truthfully and knows that what it is. What feels genuine and right. As adults. A necessity to bing bing it to be. In net make it make it obvious it's. I heard somewhere you went from Bates motel today if it half an hour what it was like us. It was 303 days between. Anne and it was a very old three days that just because I never. You'll like coming to the end five seasons on something and something that had been such an amazing. Fulfilling experience in the First Amendment and a television show and about being everything went. Or could've hoped it would be in more intent to co operate it is an act is in the material and the character. And so I guess having. How bad experience. First of all it wasn't. That within three guys are looking to how that would prevent nor would I think it would have been possible to do and we are people going to sensory deprivation yet. And I got dominance that is to it these shows that you're doing are basically four episodes and you know little meaning anything there and that and that's also you realize the commitment behind. Taking on something of that magnitude and of course here needing a pilot and served. The realistic chances it was detonated what happened but when committing to you have to imagine it we made the unity as late as well and. Also they didn't want the first time it was into the network that's right I think biffle and David shall capable you don't want this one. Quality of the air at eight you know I looked to be in the executive board room after show beat the odds that are like this. This is I think wondered descendants of Daniel. Let's bring that person. But. The change I mean it's part of your acting who did that you can go from playing one kind of port to another one it is completely different. But. There had to be some level of intimidation. In taking on Norman Bates speaking on this Hitchcock classic. Anthony Perkins head create did you have that or did you just say. I don't care I'm pretty. I had to. I did it got devastated by it and claim that happened. The. And it's I guess I was of course the land it. That people like and can pass what we were doing to the brilliant originally come before and especially. In mind the trend of Norman Bates woods and some conferences. Brilliant. Verizon kick things off but. I think that can partly because it was it was contemporary man. Partly just because of the way it is structured as this prequel and acting opposite but act as well amazing them right in with British you just kind of felt. That it was its and separate thing from the very start and we have to talk about how great fear for me he's just amazing that is one of the greatest and most perverse mothers. I have witnessed a good decisions on my best friends right after it right often those of us but the other option but an ethnic. I felt like norm yes pica. She. Actually she's just she's just fantastic and an island so much. So much from working with. Ability that she was too kind. To the. I guess it's like a it's a baldness it's a confidence to do things that. Other people might feel or couldn't possibly attempt to rest because it would be able to date Torre for the tell all but she manages to ground this. Parent of Norma who is. Vibrant and full of energy and crazy and kooky inherent way but grounds have been this pizzas it was a moms. Performance but that I can believe in credit and British detectives marveled at it on top job. Particularly those prison sentences on brilliant. That you might get bringing out the Psycho yourself. I've I've. I would always say it was the thoughts it. So yes I do I mean I guess with a bit of hindsight it might not have been held this thing until light continue the Poland's want to be your friend was there and have salaries are not ready they. You know I let it or out like an incidence. But that I reunited I guess looking back like acting shouldn't necessarily be used as a full but there I think if you will that I had these issues. When I did and maybe we'll have to me that you're allowed rate I had a desire to kill loads of people. I just got to do during the showers and now your doctor and you're really commentators and political and utility great I don't know what you can be an act but. You don't need it. And how long we're lucky to get if he's just. Then. And so that was and he knows very nice to get an accountant and not just the act as but the whole crew and keep our group. In Vancouver side an inventive enough the settlement. And we've got a few people who have stood sequitur from one to the office about. That company based they tells them alive on the sad to advocate dogs and some options. But you chills this perfection. You as a child and here's. I'm when the what was that moment it and don't go wrong. I know you comfort a family and dad's an actor Ryan woods I mean I guess that acts probably. Agree with you. But I've never felt like I came from. Acting found until my dad hasn't acted since been born and warned Poland is the American access Telecom that and then. And say. Yet it didn't. It didn't feel they waited hours it was this predicts some things can it become an act and if anything I think leaving. Leaving it behind taking some time off to Goethe university and then be able to. Make an active decision to do as an adult was with panicky because I didn't really have any idea what I. One to to do as an adult even though I was obviously enjoying. And feeding the field by boosting the kid that just seemed to be other opportunities. Teams can't figure out what it does he was a kid to do something like Finding Neverland which your brilliant but how old we. Like nine and have you know what you what you're doing is even good I don't know you dad says he probably. Visited appreciative of the opportunity that not quite that latter of why the fortune of having to with such talented people. And then you do with Tim Burton into the death yes yes all right adventure. So what was of the Johnny Depp experience. He was he was absolutely wonderful. That one win and I haven't seen in a few years that. That incredibly. Talented and was always. Very kind mean to me and that is his wing. With a good known as he did turn QNC kid you have no future show. I quit now quit while you're ahead it's below we're doing. Well I know I heard it that you don't do social media at all. And I definitely brought that up because we always have a couple questions at the end from people eyes on social media lately osment and wrong and did not say this is their only opportunity in you know so can we see some of those quest look at this. The pats didn't happen just a little it's a signal of votes to effect. I don't habitats but used. Some fish when I was when I was younger but it's just this expedition staunch. It was India even Norman date. Attacks and death if he could. If I didn't get a number of children yet now there was. OK if they are able disappointment okay. For the record I really loved your brilliant performance in the good doctor but why would you most likely be doing. If you weren't acting. I did my your broad you have to spend. A year away in Spanish speaking countries arrives in Madrid's. In Spain and liked in the north. Nine months. So he put up that could have been the alternative future yet. One home revealed about who haven't played it Laurie. In now I have an heavens and he that are well. You know this is the first have you been done so yet not know that we ended song. And insult yet there's a little today song on my cup what you were August rush for. And you know I've read you did with year. I did you edited their incredible moment and it's kind of her last seen alive. Hawaii is yes you're what difference does I rented it for rulings the shelves. In dozens. Ron from the emotion. Adam. Then use in this. Active. I didn't lose. Plan. A sees. Paula I think ruins their own Kate looked good heart for those. Name it. Two. Own then all. Live build. Really. I feel like I've been thumped by Norman it's much it's like Norman registered an effective immediately. Laid off is thinking that this principle. Thank you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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