No one can accuse Freddie Highmore of not making the most of his time. The 26-year-old Londoner has won acclaim for his talents ever since his youth. He starred in “Finding Neverland,” “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” and television chronicles for British television, and it was “Bates Motel” that brought Freddie Highmore into more American homes than ever. Portraying the young Norman Bates, Freddie Highmore still reiterates that the dark drama, at its core, was “this beautiful love story between a lovely guy and his mom” as he explained in a June 15 feature in Deadline.

Nonetheless, what Freddie Highmore holds dear about his role as Dr. Shaun Murphy on “The Good Doctor” is the uplifting, hopeful, and even comforting tone elicited by the character’s evolution through the first season. While his shooting schedule in Vancouver leaves few free minutes, the actor did make time to talk with Dakota Fanning for the “Actors on Actors” series for Variety. Despite growing up in the very different environments, both stars share a passion for their recent roles and the opportunities provided by the parts for expanding their creative gifts.

No time for pondering

Freddie Highmore had only three days between wrapping up his “Bates Motel” stint and beginning “The Good Doctor,” and it was his close collaboration with series creator David Shore that drew him into the medical drama from the start.

What differentiates his lead character and the drama from being typical medical procedural or a look into the lives of people with autism is that it does not focus on the “struggle and negativity,” according to the actor. Instead, the drama centers most on relationships, interactions, and their transformational impact on both Dr.

Murphy and those around him. Highmore reflects that the message of every story speaks not only to those on or involved with the autism spectrum but to anyone who has felt disregarded or “marginalized.”

The star shared that he felt fortunate to be spared the “L.A. culture” growing up in London, born into an acting family. His mother is a well-known agent, and his father and brother are also well established in the profession.

Dakota Fanning reflected that her growing up was more grounded than many realize, because she grew up “almost in Georgia,” splitting her time in a very “Southern and traditional” family.

Both actors relish the role of directing and being outside of the comfort zone of portraying a character. In a tinge of her role reversal, Fanning calls her period character on “The Alienist” “one of the greatest experiences” of her life, and Highmore completely embraces his character’s “refreshing honesty” and ability to find good in people in spite of his traumatic growing years and the constant prejudices of “neurotypical” people, to borrow a bit of medical jargon.

Many more scrubs and stories

Freddie Highmore may feel blessed to not have grown up in L.A., but he did spend two months there writing an episode of “The Good Doctor” that will be part of Season 2.

He will also direct an episode, and he already serves as one of the drama’s executive producers. He devotes extensive time to researching autism and seeing real-life examples of people on the spectrum, and the star understands that his runaway hit drama on ABC cannot reflect every person or experience. What he does strive to convey in his craft and through the storylines is a “genuine” perception that is powerful enough to play a part in breaking down barriers and prejudices.

While Dakota Fanning dresses in her layered costumes of hats, petticoats, and frocks, Freddie Highmore relishes his days of being in scrubs all day on the set. Delivering all the technical terminology needed by the most gifted surgeon of San Jose St. Bonaventure hospital may not be the easiest task, but the comfortable wardrobe is a benefit.