At the age of 23 and with a slew of blockbuster movies under his belt, you could say Freddie Highmore is something of a Hollywood veteran.

With eighteen years in the business, the wavy-haired former child actor has played opposite some of the biggest names in acting, from Kate Winslet and Helena Bonham Carter to Dustin Hoffman, Guy Pearce and Johnny Depp, in films as diverse as Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Finding Neverland and most recently the hit TV series Bates Motel, as the formidable Norman Bates.

In his striking cover shoot for the new Summer 2015 issue of Attitude, it’s safe to say Freddie has arrived. Here’s a taste of our ten-page feature with him:

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You look very different in this shoot – are you ready to become a pin up?
I think in a way, being judged as a sex symbol and being famous almost go hand in hand but it is not something I have ever sought. It’s tricky because these days success relies on promoting the film or the show more and more, and promoting the actors via Twitter and social media, which I am not on. There is more and more pressure on actors to try to embrace a public social media presence. But I am still holding out.

We’re three seasons in to Bates Motel – you must be so pleased with how it’s being received?
Becoming a part of a story so well known and so well loved, you don’t want to mess it up. But having our show set in the present day and going back to see what it was that turned Norman psychotic, we felt free to bring in our own interpretations and not be restricted by the original source material. From my point of view, I never attempted to mimic what Anthony Perkins did in the movie; however he was obviously an amazing source of inspiration upon which to build.

You appear to be a very sweet, gentle man, do you have a dark side?
Only when I am watching or playing football, that’s when my dark side comes out. The latter stages of this season for Arsenal have been a happy time so far.

You’ve been acting for 18 years, has it been an easy transition getting to where you are now? We read so much about young stars like Lindsay Lohan and Macaulay Culkin who struggle to deal with growing up in the industry…
A lot of it is because I had a supportive family growing up. Between making films, I would go back to ordinary school in London instead of home schooling. I didn’t go to school in Los Angeles, where it must be harder to maintain that distinction between a normal life and film work. I wasn’t defined as an actor in London. And going to uni studying foreign languages rather than drama helped to keep me grounded.

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Bates Motel has a big gay fanbase. Does that mean you get asked to participate in any LGBT support?
In the past I was more often asked to support children’s charities! In some ways, change is best started with yourself. You and your friends not just being aware of what you believe in but standing up for it. If a situation arises that you don’t agree with – like someone making a joke at the expense of the LGBT community – you have to speak up for it: Hopefully remain friendly but don’t let the moment go by. When I was at school, that phrase ‘you’re so gay’ suggesting weakness was commonplace and kind of acceptable – but at uni it was happily not used. Maybe that kind of thing is the real positive education of going off to university! I don’t think people are born homophobic – at least, I hope not.

We live in cosmopolitan London, but outside of the capital life might not be as happy.
Sadly, I think you’re right that big cities do welcome diversity more. Maybe familiarity has taken away the fear. That’s why it’s important to have positive role models in the public so that people can more easily gain confidence to freely express themselves. Actually, there is a phrase I’m not wholly comfortable with: ‘More tolerant’. Surely, it’s not about tolerating others as if they were a noisy neighbour, or that bloke on the tube with B.O? It’s about accepting that we’re all unique and that the world’s genuinely richer because of it. I’d also like to state that no-one should safely accept a Norman Bates as their motel manager!

Bates Motel season 3 is shown Wednesday nights at 9pm on Universal Channel.

Also in this issue:
· Will Young speaks out about inadequate politicians, lack of gay sex education in schools and dating,
· US TV mogul Andy Cohen on breaking down boundaries with Bravo,
· Colin Farrell’s brother Eamonn talks about his brother’s support for the upcoming Irish equal marriage referendum,
· In a bumper Eurovision special feature, Former Eurovision presenter Sarah Cawood says the UK should follow Sweden’s lead when entering the competition.

The new issue of Attitude is available now to download from Pocketmags.com/Attitude. The print edition is on stores from Wednesday April 29, and you can also have it delivered directly to your door at newsstand.co.uk/Attitude.