Freddie Highmore: 25 Facts About The Good Doctor Actor

Freddie Highmore has risen to the spotlight with his starring role as Dr. Shaun Murphy on the ABC show The Good Doctor. But who is the man behind the leading actor? Dive into the article as we uncover facts about the English star you might not have known before. 

Getty Images

Getty Images


25. HE DOESN'T HAVE SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS

Highmore is pretty indifferent when it comes to social media, he prefers to stay away from Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. The star credits his abstinence from social media for his ability to separate his personal life from his on-screen life. 

 "Maybe I should just get some secret account somewhere and keep up to date with everything,” Freddie joked.

Freddie Highmore/Photo:Getty Images

Freddie Highmore/Photo:Getty Images


24. HE SPEAKS MULTIPLE LANGUAGES

Highmore studied Arabic and Spanish at university, however, he didn't practice his Arabic enough to retain it. He also studied French in his earlier in his schooling years. The actor has also shared that he would graciously accept the opportunity of starring in a film that uses a language other than English.

Freddie Highmore/Photo:Getty Images

Freddie Highmore/Photo:Getty Images


23. HE LIVED IN MADRID FOR A YEAR WHILE WORKING IN A LAW FIRM

When he was filming Bates Motel, Freddie also worked at a law firm translating documents from Spanish to English. Showrunners for the series were extremely impressed. During his time working and filming Madrid, the star would pretend that he had a Spanish grandmother so that he could easily make friends. Freddie told Jimmy Kimmel. 

"I came up with this backstory that my grandmother was born in Galicia which is the Northwest part of Spain."

Freddie Highmore/Photo:Getty Images

Freddie Highmore/Photo:Getty Images


22. HIS REAL NAME ISN'T FREDDIE

Fans might be surprised to know that he's real name isn't Freddie. He was named Alfred Thomas Highmore by his mother Sue, who we have come to know is a talent agent and his father Edward Thomas Highmore, who is an actor. It seems the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree but more about that in the next fact about Alfred!

Freddie Highmore/Photo:Getty Images

Freddie Highmore/Photo:Getty Images


21. HE IS A MUSICIAN 

When Freddie isn't on set or adding to his linguistic repertoire, the actor enjoys playing the clarinet. He also learned to play the guitar for his role in August Rush. In a throwback appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, the young Freddie demonstrated how he plays the clarinet with his nostrils.


20. HE WENT TO UNIVERSITY TO FIGURE OUT WHAT HE WANTED TO DO WITH HIS LIFE

The actor is a graduate of the University of Cambridge, he successfully completed his studies in Arabic and Spanish while filming Bates Motel. Highmore admitted that he wanted to make sure that acting was a career field he genuinely wanted to pursue. He avoided settling by attending college.

 "I think it also just helps you grow as an actor, too. If your only experiences are growing up on sets, then it gets to a point where you don’t have anything to draw on in terms of real-life experience to portray these characters."

Freddie Highmore/Photo:Getty Images

Freddie Highmore/Photo:Getty Images


19. VALENTINE'S DAY IS HIS BLESSING AND HIS CURSE

Being born on the day of love can be a blessing and a curse according to the star. During his appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live, he joked that he always receives a card, even though it doesn't come from the person he would like for it to come from.

He recalls one year his friends planned a dinner party to celebrate his birthday and the restaurant decor was very romantic. Of course, they weren't pleased, and coincidently, they also ruined a couple's date night. The actor recalled the embarrassing moment:

"One of them turned and said 'Did you really have to come out tonight? Couldn't you have waited till tomorrow?' "

Freddie Highmore/Photo:Getty Images

Freddie Highmore/Photo:Getty Images


18. THE AMERICAN STYLE OF DATING CONFUSES HIM

In Highmore's opinion, the U.K. dating scene is different from North America. He figures dates are more straightforward in the U.K. - you might go out to see a movie or enjoy dinner together but the North American style might include extreme sports. Freddie finds this notion to be confusing as he never knows whether it's an actual date. 


17. HE BEGAN ACTING AT THE AGE OF 7

As we mentioned earlier, the actor appeared in Women Talking Dirty, it was his first role in a film. Even though Freddie was acting consistently during his childhood, it wasn't a career that he automatically knew he would end up in. Highmore went to school and then university to discover his true ambitions and it brought him back to acting.

Freddie Highmore during the 11th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards in 2005 / Photo:Getty Images

Freddie Highmore during the 11th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards in 2005 / Photo:Getty Images


16. HE IS FRIENDS WITH JOHNNY DEPP

Freddie has had the pleasure of working with Hollywood great Johnny Depp not only once but twice! The actors starred in Finding Neverland and later Depp recommended Highmore for his role in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The August Rush star confirmed Johnny put in a good word for him in an interview with The Independent.

"People build up a picture of Johnny Depp as being some sort of weird pirate character. In reality he's incredibly nice... one of the nicest people I've ever met. We meet up whenever we're in the same country."

Freddie Highmore and Johnny Depp during "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" Los Angeles Premiere / Photo:Getty Images

Freddie Highmore and Johnny Depp during "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" Los Angeles Premiere / Photo:Getty Images


The English-born actor also impressed his castmates with his acting skills, he was able to fully engage with each scene. Depp recalled being compelled by his performance during scenes and according to Highmore's other co-star in Finding Neverland Kate Winslet, he was amazing:

"He has the most terrifying instincts, they’re just bang-on. And he has no idea that he has that."

Kate Winslet/Photo:Getty Images

Kate Winslet/Photo:Getty Images


15. HELENA BONHAM CARTER HAS PLAYED HIS MOTHER 3 TIMES

The English actress starred as Highmore's mother in his first film Women Talking Dirty, she did it again in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and finally, she starred as his step-mother in the TV show Toast. Freddie considers himself lucky to have played opposite her 3 times. 

Helena Bonham Carter/Photo:Getty Images

Helena Bonham Carter/Photo:Getty Images


14. HIS REAL MOM WORKS WITH A HARRY POTTER STAR

Highmore's mother Sue Latimer is actually a talent agent and one of her clients is Daniel Radcliffe. The Harry Potter star and Freddie were childhood friends, the two became acquainted with one another through their parents. According to Freddie, they used to play together at the beach.

" I think there are photos of us somewhere. So it's funny that we've grown up and both ended up doing films."

Daniel Radcliffe/Photo:Getty Images

Daniel Radcliffe/Photo:Getty Images


His mother's portfolio of clients also includes himself and she's a great ally for his film career. The actor shared that his career has been shaped by his family as they would discuss projects as a unit before deciding which one he should take on. Freddie also added.

"It's very nice having my mum as my agent. You know that she's always doing what's best for you."

Freddie and his mother attend the 5th Annual Critics' Choice Television Awards After Party / Photo:Getty Images

Freddie and his mother attend the 5th Annual Critics' Choice Television Awards After Party / Photo:Getty Images


13. HE TRIED TO LEARN ICE HOCKEY

In 2018, the actor spoke about living in Vancouver Canada. He tried to introduce himself to Canadian culture by learning to play ice hockey. He does admit that he had to learn how to adjust from the English polite manner of applauding to screaming and cheering when watching a hockey game. However, he's not so good at playing:

"I'm not at the stage of trying to hit the ball or puck yet, I just can't even stand up on the ice."


12. HE'S A HUGE FOOTBALL FAN

The actor played football during his Cambridge years and he's always been a fan of Arsenal. In 2016, Highmore attended the Champions League finals where he was reduced to tears when his favorite team lost. The passion runs deep, he even thought he would be a football player at some stage.

“I’ve been lucky to have had the distance from a Hollywood upbringing, being able to go back [to London] and wanting to be a footballer and play for Arsenal back in the U.K.” 



11. HE'S DATED A FEW CELEBS

The actor has been linked with a few Hollywood starlets. In 2006, it was rumored that he had a fling with his Spiderwick Chronicles castmate, Sarah Bolger. At the time, he was 15 and she was 16 but they pushed their relationship to the 3-year mark.

After the relationship concluded, he was spotted with fellow child star Dakota Fanning. The couple later separated that same year. Since Highmore prefers to keep his personal life low-key, it's not very often that you hear anything about his romantic partners. However, it was reported that Fanning broke his heart.

Getty Images

Getty Images


10. HE IS THE GODFATHER OF VERA FARMIGA'S SON 

The actors played mother and son on Bates Motel and have taken their familial bond off the screen. Freddie has shared that the two experienced an instant connection when they first met on set in 2012. Freddie has since become the godfather of her son Flynn. 


9. HE HAS ACTED ALONGSIDE HIS FATHER

Highmore had the opportunity to act in a film called Jack and the Beanstalk: The Real Story alongside his dad Edward Highmore. The duo played father and son and just like father like son, Edward is just as private and humble as Freddie. Even though he's widely recognized for acting in BBCs beloved soap Howard's Way. 

Freddie Highmore/Photo:Getty Images

Freddie Highmore/Photo:Getty Images


8. HE LOVES LONDON

The Golden Globe-nominated actor was born and raised in London so it's not coincidental that it would be his favorite city. However, since The Good Doctor is filmed in Vancouver, Canada, he affectionately refers to it as his home away from home.

Ugur Akdemir / Unsplash

Ugur Akdemir / Unsplash


7. HE ENJOYS ACTING ON TV SHOWS

Throughout his Hollywood career, Highmore has starred in cinema and television roles but as of recent, he's maintained the television direction. According to Freddie, he made an active choice to do television when he became involved with The Good Doctor. What does he enjoy most about television?

"It allows you a greater amount of time to focus on telling story of your character."


6. HE'S A DIRECTOR AND WRITER

Freddie Highmore is not only talented on the screen, but he is also talented behind the scenes. The critically acclaimed actor penned some of the episodes of Bates Motel and also directed an episode of the hit show. He added a producer to his resume when he was made an official of The Good Doctor.

Additionally, the star co-wrote and directed an episode of The Good Doctor. Freddie shared his experience was a challenge he had been eagerly awaiting because he didn't feel fulfilled with just acting on the shows.

"I think it was born naturally out of working on a television show, because there was something odd to me about leaving the show behind in-between seasons, after putting so much into it on set for four, five months," he said


5. HE DID A LOT OF RESEARCH TO DEVELOP DR. SHAUN MURPHY

Fans of The Good Doctor will know that Highmore plays the character of Dr. Shaun Murphy who is autistic. Of course, the character needed to be researched in order for him to provide an accurate depiction of autism. So, he watched documentaries and production had a consultant on set.

"It terms of the research, it's continual, Shaun is always evolving and changing. He's never static and it never feels like we've done enough,"Freddie stated.


Moreover, Highmore shared that Shaun is more than his diagnosis of autism and the show explores how he views the world and his experience of life. The star wanted to stray away from the stereotypes that seem to follow autistic people.

"What I think we are trying to do in portraying Dr. Shaun Murphy is moving away from perhaps stereotypical versions of people with autism that have been shown on television and in certain movies in the past, the No. 1 thing that they're devoid of emotion."


4. HE HAD A 3 DAY BREAK BETWEEN TWO BIG PROJECTS

The actor concluded his role 5-year role as Norman in the horror series Bates Motel just 3 days before joining The Good Doctor. Highmore stated that he felt drawn to the medical show because of the character Shaun. He also joked that after killing so many people in Bates Motel, he felt morally obligated to take on Shaun. 

"I'd never seeen someone like Shaun potrayed on television...there was a responsibility we all assumed by taking on this character, we wanted to get it right but that was also something was exciting to me too," the star added.


Troubled Norman on Bates Motel is a sharp contrast from the noble character of Shaun; a young talented surgeon with Autism. However, Highmore welcomed the change because his view is that actors dream about portraying a variety of characters. Even though Shaun has Autism, he adapts to a new environment and is on a journey towards independence.

3. HE WAS GOING TO TURN DOWN HIS ROLE ON THE GOOD DOCTOR

While it's difficult to imagine an alternate reality where Dr. Murphy is played by another actor, it almost happened. It was revealed that the star and producers were not convinced he would be the right fit. He was also hesitant to sign on for another commitment after the successful Bates Motel. 

"And the fact that you need to choose wisely because otherwise you could end up on something that you might not want to be doing for years and years, ” the actor added.


2. THE GOOD DOCTOR WITH SUAVE VOICE

The Good Doctor has been a global success since it first aired in 2018. This has led to the series being adapted in various languages through voice-overs. In an appearance on the Late Late Show with James Corden, Highmore shared his thoughts on the Spanish version:

"Shaun speaks in a suave, deep sort of sexual voice that's very unlike the original version..but maybe it's better, maybe people in Spain will watch it more and then I will have to switch up the voice next year."

The Good Doctor/Photo:Getty Images

The Good Doctor/Photo:Getty Images


1. HE LOVES VOICE OVER ACTING

The star has fun with voice-over acting, Highmore stated that being off the screen gives him an opportunity to focus on other acting challenges. He gets to hone in on the energetic portrayal of a character rather than the physical aspects of on-screen productions. 

The talented actor has worked on voice-overs for video games including an adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The Spiderwick Chronicles. He is also the voice behind Astro Boy in its PSP game voicing alongside actress Kristen Bell.

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