Tim Stack
August 02, 2013 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Work Back-to-back movies with Johnny Depp? Not a bad way to break into Hollywood. ”I never went to drama school,” Highmore says. ”So you learn by being on set. You [meet] Johnny and say, ‘Oh, this is someone you want to emulate.”’
School Even after Neverland came out, Highmore continued to attend his regular school in London. ”Doing films is something I’ve done alongside my normal life,” he says. (Lohans, take note.)
Dream Role As a kid, he dreamed of playing a killer one day. ”You’d never suspect Charlie or Peter would become a serial killer,” he explains.
The Pressure ”When you’re younger and more inexperienced,” he notes, ”you arrive on set and you do the scene and you do it as written and that’s great.” No one expects more.

Work He’s looking up to Vera Farmiga (”She’s lovely”) and adjusting to TV work. ”You have more responsibility as an actor on a show,” he says. ”Writers aren’t always on set and the directors come and go…[but] you’re there.”
School He has one year left at Cambridge, where he’s studying Spanish and Arabic. ”With Arabic, people think I’m going to be a spy,” he says. ”Maybe I’m a spy already. It’d be a good cover, wouldn’t it?”
Dream Role Mission accomplished. He’s playing a young version of Psycho‘s Norman Bates. Still, he says, ”[you] hope that he might turn out okay.”
The Pressure The stakes are higher. ”Being one of the two leads, you [have] to lead, in the sense of coming up with ideas and bringing things to the table,” he says. ”I enjoy every moment.”

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