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Why Shaun From The Good Doctor Looks So Familiar

Looper logo: MainLogoLooper 5/17/2022 Mae Harrington O'Neill
Actor Freddie Highmore looking serious © DFree/Shutterstock Actor Freddie Highmore looking serious

Inspired by a South Korean series of the same name, "The Good Doctor" is a medical drama that focuses on Dr. Shaun Murphy, an autistic surgeon. After escaping a troubled past in Wyoming, Shaun moves to California to pursue a job as a surgical resident at San Jose St. Bonaventure Hospital. Despite his obvious talent and distinctive ability to visualize his patient's ailments, Shaun initially faces scrutiny because of both his youth and his unique methods. 

Similar to other hospital dramas, the series features a talented ensemble cast that includes Hill Harper, Christina Chang, Paige Spara, Noah Galvin, Richard Schiff, Will Yun Lee, Fiona Gubelmann, and Bria Samoné Henderson. Executive producer Daniel Dae Kim, who actually appears on the show as Dr. Jackson Han, is the person who initially thought to make an American version of the show (via Deadline).

If you've ever wondered why the actor who plays Shaun looks so familiar, then you're not alone. Without further ado, here are some of his most notable projects besides his starring role on "The Good Doctor."

Freddie Highmore Played Peter In Finding Neverland

Peter Llewelyn Davies talking © Miramax Films/YouTube Peter Llewelyn Davies talking

Freddie Highmore is the actor who plays Dr. Shaun Murphy on "The Good Doctor," and "Finding Neverland" was one of the first projects he appeared in. Starring Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet, the film is inspired by the true story of how the character Peter Pan was created. 

Depp portrays J.M. Barrie, a playwright suffering from writer's block after the failure of his previous production. One day, Barrie meets a widow named Sylvia (Winslet) and her sons George (Nick Roud), Jack (Joe Prospero), Peter (Highmore), and Michael (Luke Spill). Barrie begins to bond with the family, although he has a hard time connecting with young Peter, who is still deeply upset by the death of his father. Peter sees Barrie's presence as an intrusion and worries that the writer is trying to take his father's place. At such a young age, Highmore is able to skillfully convey Peter's innocence and grief, especially towards the end of the film when his mother dies. 

Inspired by his time with Peter and his brothers, Barrie writes the play "Peter Pan." With a little "faith, trust, and pixie dust," Barrie and Peter are able to settle their differences and accept one another. The film is a touching, whimsical tale about the magic of storytelling, loss, and the connections forged in the wake of tragedy. Highmore is a delight in "Finding Neverland," and his emotional journey throughout the film is central to the plot.

Freddie Highmore Was In Charlie And The Chocolate Factory

Charlie Bucket astonished © Warner Bros. Pictures/YouTube Charlie Bucket astonished

Freddie Highmore once again starred alongside Johnny Depp a few years later in the 2005 film "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," based on the novel of the same name by Roald Dahl. The English actor played Charlie Bucket, a poor boy who lives with his family near the Wonka chocolate factory. After finding a golden ticket in one of Wonka's candy bars, Charlie and his Grandpa Joe (David Kelly) win the chance to tour Wonka's mysterious factory. After their arrival, Charlie and Grandpa Joe meet a variety of interesting characters, including the eccentric Willy Wonka (Depp) himself. 

Directed by Tim Burton, the film also stars Helena Bonham Carter, Noah Taylor, Missi Pyle, AnnaSophia Robb, Deep Roy, and Christopher Lee. Highmore brings his A-game to the role of Charlie, paying homage to the iconic children's book character in this modern retelling. Once again, Highmore's performance in "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" provides audiences with a showcase of his veritable acting skills.

Freddie Highmore Starred In August Rush

Evan Taylor looking upward © Warner Bros. Pictures/YouTube Evan Taylor looking upward

Freddie Highmore appeared alongside Keri Russell, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, and Robin Williams in "August Rush." The movie tells the story of a young boy named Evan Taylor, a musical prodigy who has spent his entire life in an orphanage. Convinced that his parents are alive and waiting for him somewhere, Evan runs away to New York City in hopes of finding them. 

In order to portray Evan, Highmore learned how to speak with an American accent and how to play the guitar. "The most important thing with the guitar was to get it to look right so that it always appeared that I was playing it," Highmore told The Georgia Straight. "I learned all the songs I had to play so it wouldn't just look like I was faking it, and most of the time what you hear was the song I played."

As the film weaves Evan's story, viewers are also shown flashbacks of how his parents met. Lyla (Russell), a talented cellist studying at Juilliard, lives under the watchful eye of her father until one day, she meets Louis (Meyers), a free-spirited musician. The duo have a one-night stand but are unable to see each other again and baby Evan is eventually placed up for adoption without Lyla's consent. The character's storylines eventually weave together into a spellbinding narrative about the way music connects us. Highmore's performance in the film is captivating and he shoulders his portion of the narrative with considered skill.

Freddie Highmore Played Twins Jared And Simon In The Spiderwick Chronicles

The Grace siblings find something unexpected © Paramount Pictures/YouTube The Grace siblings find something unexpected

Based on the book series of the same name by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi, "The Spiderwick Chronicles" is a fantasy film about three siblings who stumble upon the secret world of magical creatures. After their parents get divorced, the Grace children are forced to move with their mother Helen (played by "Weeds" star Mary-Louise Parker) to the dilapidated Spiderwick estate, which has been passed down to them through various family members. 

Freddie Highmore stars in a dual role as identical twins Jared and Simon, two brothers who couldn't be less alike. While the brooding, impulsive Jared resents their mother's actions, Simon is a timid animal enthusiast with a tendency for bringing home stray pets. The brothers are polar opposites and Highmore expertly conveys each character's distinct personality, especially Jared, whose actions are the catalyst of the narrative. Their older sister Mallory (played by "Once Upon a Time" actress Sarah Bolger) rounds out the trio, who get in way over their heads when Jared finds a mysterious field guide that reveals a hidden realm of fairies and other fantastical beings. 

When the evil ogre Mulgarath (Nick Nolte) plans to use the field guide to dominate the world, it's up to the Grace siblings to save the day. With a cast rounded out by Martin Short and Seth Rogen, "The Spiderwick Chronicles" is a fast-paced film that still manages to honor the source material.

You Might Know Freddie Highmore As Norman Bates

Highmore portrays Norman Bates on Bates Motel © A&E Networks/YouTube Highmore portrays Norman Bates on Bates Motel

Last but not least, you might recognize Freddie Highmore as Norman Bates from the series "Bates Motel," which is presented as a modern prequel to Alfred Hitchcock's iconic film "Psycho." The series centers around the lives of Norman and his mother Norma (played by "The Conjuring" actress Vera Farmiga) prior to the events of the movie. Following the death of her husband, Norma buys a motel in Oregon hoping for a fresh start. As mother and son try to adjust to their new reality, the pair are soon wrapped up in a dangerous spiral that threatens to destroy their family. 

Unlike the full unhinged version of Norman that Anthony Perkins plays in the 1960 film, Highmore's version of the character is just starting to unlock the darkness within. Norman is almost likable when viewers first meet him in "Bates Motel," a facet of the character Highmore says is intentional. 

"It's alright to identify with Norman. It's that dramatic irony that people will always have the knowledge that he's going to end up killing people. Whether or not Norman knows that himself, from the start, is a different thing," Highmore explained to Collider

Norman Bates is one of the most iconic characters in horror, and Highmore's performance in the series is to die for. He conveys Norman's increasing instability with terrifying precision, managing to create his own version of the character while still paying tribute to the original.

Read this next: Upcoming Movie Sequels You Didn't Know Were In The Works

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