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Cory Monteith’s Girlfriend Lea Michele Saved “Glee,” Says Creator Ryan Murphy

Ryan Murphy, co-creator of “Glee,” has finally broken his silence on the tragic death of the show’s star Cory Monteith, and in an interview with E! News, Murphy addressed how the actor told him he wanted to get clean, how his girlfriend Lea Michele is holding up, and what will happen to Monteith’s character Finn in the show’s upcoming fifth season.

31-year-old Cory Monteith was found dead last Saturday (Jul 13) in a hotel room in Vancouver. An autopsy later determined that a lethal dose of heroin and alcohol contributed to Monteith’s death, which was ruled to have been accidental.

Monteith’s body was cremated in Vancouver after a private viewing by his immediate family and girlfriend Lea Michele. His father was said to be devastated because he didn’t find out about the viewing or the cremation until after the fact.

Fox announced Friday that “Glee” would resume production this August — after delaying due to Monteith’s death — and Ryan Murphy explained that the decision to continue filming was up to the actor’s girlfriend Lea Michele.

Murphy told E! News:

“Ultimately the person who made the decision was Lea, who felt that the best thing for the cast and crew was to be together and to get back to work and be together every day and talk about our memories of him. So we decided to do that with Lea’s blessing and we’re going to go back to work and have grief counselors on the set for two weeks because people are really hurting.”

Murphy also talked about how ending the show for good was an option, if that’s something Lea Michele wanted to do:

“Yes. If Lea had said to me, ‘I could never do this again and I don’t want to do this again,’ you know, she is sort of the show, so what do you do? And I would’ve, out of respect to her as a person, said ‘OK,’ but that’s not how Lea operates; that’s not how she feels. She’s handled this with so much humanity and grace and she’s also handled this in a way where she’s trying to look out for 500 other people affected by him and who have mortgages to pay and families to feed. That was never on the table for her and I said, ‘OK.’ Nothing has been done and will be done in terms of any of the material without Lea blessing it and making sure it’s OK with her—and she has been.”

He added:

“I’ve never met any 26-year-old person stronger than Lea. She’s really been the leader in this situation, which is very unfair in a weird way because this show has always been so complicated about characters merging into personal lives, merging into public identity, so it’s just all [bleeping] rough. It’s just rough and it sucks and there’s no right way to do it, but I just wanted people to know that there was nothing done without a lot of thought from a corporate level to a personal level, but ultimately, everyone involved made the decision, ‘OK, what does Lea want to do, what would Lea feel comfortable doing?’ This is what she wants to do.”

Speaking about Cory’s struggles with drug and alcohol addiction, Murphy confirmed reports that he, as well as “Glee” executive producer Brad Falchuk and Lea Michele tried to help the actor when they found out he was doing drugs back in March.

“We had an incident in March, which has been reported on, where we found out he was using again and staged an intervention in my office with a lot of appropriate people. He wanted to continue working and we said, ‘That’s not an option. No. The TV show doesn’t matter, your life matters.’ So we booked a rehab and a facility and Cory has always been, always was, a strong-willed and very sweet child and I always said he felt like an older son to me. He and I had a very interesting, once-in-a-lifetime relationship, so I was very surprised that he went so readily.

“His last words to me were, ‘I want to get better,’ and I always felt and continue to feel even in his death that he did, that he really wanted to fight it and he was humiliated and shamed … I feel like we did everything that we could and I know that Lea feels she did everything that she could.”

Murphy also revealed that the show will go on a hiatus after airing a tribute to Monteith, tentatively planned for the third episode of the new season — which returns on September 26th.

“We had two episodes that we finished writing in May that were our Beatles tributes that we we’ve been working on for four years, so those were already done. With some slight modifications, we decided, ‘OK, let’s shoot these. Let’s get people back and then let’s take the time to write and deal with a tribute to Cory,’ which I guess we’re going to do for episode three and then after that episode airs, we’re going to go off the air for awhile and take a little hiatus and figure out what is the future of the show. But for now, we just decided to do is continue on working for the next month so people could really deal with this and not feel isolated and alone. That’s something Lea felt strongly about and she really is the one making those decisions. We followed her lead.”

Asked how he would like for Cory to be remembered, Ryan Murphy had this to say:

“It’s very difficult and emotional for me to talk about that. I just feel like the thing about Cory is that…Cory really was in many ways like that character. Cory was in the first scene of Glee that we shot that I directed in the pilot, he was the first person on camera and it was a very nerve-wracking time, and no one knew what would happen with the show because a musical had never worked. I was particularly unsure about it and I remember after the first take, he finished his thing and came up to me and leaned down to me and said, ‘This is going to be fun.’

“And I think that’s the way he was on the show, on the set; he was a real leader. He was very beloved by the crew. I think Cory was very much like Finn [in] that Cory really was a champion of young artists and the underdog. I hope that that’s how he’s remembered and I think he will be because that’s how he was in real life with his causes and his outreach programs. Also I think a lot of people, a lot of young kids, have watched that evolution of that character and have been touched by it and hopefully that’s his legacy.”

[via: E! News]

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