By Tim Kenneally
“Glee” co-creator Ryan Murphy reflected on the upcoming episode that will say goodbye to deceased cast member Cory Monteith and his character, Finn Hudson, saying it was “incredibly difficult” to work on.
“It was incredibly difficult to work on, it was very difficult to shoot. The interesting thing about that show is that those actors and the creators really, really loved Cory,” Murphy told reporters following a screening of the season premiere of his FX series “American Horror Story: Coven.”
“The episode is called ‘The Quarterback,’ and you know, Cory really was that to that group of people, and to me particularly,” Murphy continued. “It’s hard to do a young people show, you know. That group of kids particularly went through the limelight and became world famous at a very difficult age, and many of them really struggled with it. and Cory obviously very much struggled with it, but never on the surface, and I think that’s why everybody loved him. He was the most kind, the most generous [person], never a bad word for anybody. So I think what you will see in the episode is what really happened.”
Monteith, who had a long struggle with substance abuse, died in Toronto at age 31 in July, of what the coroner determined was a dual toxicity of heroin and alcohol.
Murphy said that the emotional situation on set led to an immediacy in the performances, which he characterized as “amazing.”
“Almost everything in that episode is from the first take of every performance, because the actors and the crew had a really hard time shooting it. I’ve never seen a crew where you can’t continue shooting because they left the room sobbing,” Murphy offered. “It was very hard, and I struggled even working on it, because you’re seeing what they felt about not just Finn [Hudson, Monteith's character], but Cory. So I think it’s amazing performances across the board, and everybody went into it with a lot of love.”
Murphy added that shooting the episode was “very rough” for Leah Michelle, who was Monteith’s girlfriend as well as castmate.
“People still are not over it,” Murphy said. “It’s still very, very difficult.”
During the Television Critics Association summer press tour, Fox entertainment president Kevin Reilly said that the tribute episode will “deal directly with the incidents involved in Cory’s passing,” but did not say whether Monteith’s character would die from drugs.
The episode will air Oct. 10.