Cory Monteith channeled his struggles in new film

Jul 14, 2013 at 11:05 p.m. ET

Cory Monteith struggled with a very public drug addiction, but he was doing what he could to help others. The actor's last known role was playing a character struggling with the same disease.

Cory Monteith Cory Monteith was struggling with addiction before his tragic death at the age of 31. But the actor was trying to do something with that struggle.

Monteith's last known film had him playing a "drug-addicted street hustler," according to the Los Angeles Times. The actor had faced a long struggle with drug addiction.

The film McCanick, which also stars David Morse, was shot last September in Philadelphia. Monteith's character is sent to prison, and after he's finally released, he's hunted by the cop who put him behind bars.

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The character was quite a change from Monteith's character on Glee, and writer and director Josh C. Waller said he was a little hesitant about the casting.

"In my mind, I was envisioning a teeny little drug guy [for the role], but Cory Monteith is this tall, strapping man," Waller told Amy Kaufman with the LA Times. "But when I met with him, he wanted to do it so badly. He was very vocal about his past, and said he wanted to tap into things from his youth that he hadn't been able to use as an actor yet."

Waller said that as soon as they began filming, any worries he had had about the actor were gone. Monteith felt that his past suddenly was useful in a character he was playing.

"He didn't say it was a cathartic experience, but you could sense it," Waller added.

The director saw Monteith grow in their short time together and could see that he wanted to shed the clean-cut characters he had been playing.

"He was like, 'I know I can't be on that show [Glee] forever, so I'm starting to prep myself for when it's not on anymore,'" Waller said. "With McCanick, he was starting that trajectory — like, 'Let me nip this in the bud right now.'"

According to Kaufman, Waller said that he saw Monteith just after his one-month stay in rehab and that the actor said things had been "kind of tough" during the last few months.

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McCanick does not yet have a distributor, and Waller wants to make sure that Monteith's last film is seen, but only if it's the right situation.

"It's tricky, because you know there's a group of people that want to see the movie because it's his last film — but by no means does anybody want to exploit the tragedy," Waller said. "I want people to see the movie, because Cory deserves that. People would ultimately see that he had a lot more to offer artistically, and it's a shame that this happened because now he can't explore that."

Photo courtesy FayesVision/

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