Before he passed away, Glee's Cory Monteith, 31, was excited to showcase his acting talent in a more serious Canadian film, All the Wrong Reasons.
"I'd only seen him a few weeks ago," the film's director, Gia Milani, told CBC News earlier this week. [Monteith's death] is a shock, and the word shock doesn't seem deep enough. I'm floored."
Milani had flown out to Los Angeles to share the film's final cut with Monteith, when she last saw him. In the film, he plays the role of a department store manager whose wife suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. His costars include Emily Hampshire, Karine Vanasse and Kevin Zegers.
"It was a pretty heavy role, very intense, quite a departure from [Glee's] Finn," Milani told CBC. "He was really excited to play it, partially because he could play his own age. He was really looking forward to showing another side of himself."
Monteith was a joy to work with, she said. He was a hard worker and loved his fans.
"We'd go to dinner and . . . every few minutes he would be interrupted — he wouldn't call it an interruption — but he'd be interrupted by a fan wanting a photograph or something," Milani recalled. "He was gracious every single time . . . . He was grateful for all of it."
In a her own commentary at Entertainment Weekly, Milani says he was playful, too:
Cory told me, just before his last scene of our film was shot, that he had hidden his Ray-Ban sunglasses somewhere in every shot that he was in, and that he would tell me where they all were during our DVD commentary. I loved the grin he gave me when he told me he’d done it. I am going to miss that grin.
Monteith, who was born in Calgary, passed away in his room at Vancouver's Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel last weekend. Autopsy results have been expedited allegedly due to the public nature of this tragic event, and because Monteith is a beloved celebrity both in Canada and abroad. Results may be announced as soon as tomorrow.
Photos: Frederick M. Brown (top); Frazer Hamilton (bottom)/Getty Images