July 16th, 2013
04:31 PM ET
For three weeks in Philadelphia last fall, Cory Monteith took a personal battle and spun it into a performance.
The 31-year-old actor, who was found dead on Saturday, had struggled with substance addiction in the past, and he drew upon that experience for an upcoming film called "McCanick."
The crime drama, which also features David Morse, Tracie Thoms and Mike Vogel, sees Monteith portray a drug-addicted hustler named Simon Weeks. It's far grittier than Monteith's best-known role as "Glee's" lovable heartthrob Finn Hudson, and initially "McCanick" director Josh C. Waller wasn't sure Monteith would be a good fit.
“In my mind, I was envisioning a teeny little drug guy [for the part], but Cory Monteith is this tall, strapping man,” Waller told the Los Angeles 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.”
Monteith had been frank about his "out of control" teen years, which ultimately led to a rehab stint at 19. The actor never intimated that it was cathartic to pull from that well for "McCanick," "but you could sense it," Waller said.
Sadly, Monteith won't be able to describe the role himself. "McCanick" was the star's last known film role before his death, which the British Columbia Coroners Service said Tuesday was caused by "a mixed drug toxicity, involving heroin and alcohol."
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