After a week of silence, Ryan Murphy, co-creator of Glee — the show which help skyrocket the late Cory Monteith to sudden fame in 2009 before his untimely death on Saturday, July 13 — is ready to speak.
Since Monteith, 31, was found dead in his Vancouver hotel room from a lethal dose of heroin and alcohol, the Glee family has been left reeling from the tragedy, trying to figure out how (or even if) the Fox show goes on without Monteith's beloved character, Finn Hudson.
"Ultimately, we made no decisions without consulting Lea [Michele]," Murphy explained of the 26-year-old actress who was Monteith's real-life girlfriend to TV Line. "She was very adamant that she thought it was best for the cast and crew to get back together sooner [rather] than later … Cory was so beloved that she felt people really needed to be together in this time. So we sort of followed her lead."
To help the cast deal with the tragic loss, Murphy shared that grief counselors will be on hard during the first two weeks on set. Per TV Line, he decided that the first two episodes of season five will be The Beatles tribute episodes (which was written back in May) and then the third episode will address Finn's death.
"[It's] a very difficult episode to write," Murphy said. "[It] has to be done very carefully and with a lot of taste and really making sure that it’s a tribute to Cory."
He continued, "Then, who knows? Maybe we’ll wait to shoot that. We really have to see how everybody feels … We’re going to take a long writers’ hiatus after that episode to refigure the season and continue to take care of the cast and crew and work on setting things up in Cory’s honor … because that’s something we’re dedicated to doing."
Dealing with the unexpected news has been difficult for everyone involved, but Murphy revealed that Michele has really showed strength during this dark period.
"It’s just a crazy, really difficult, very emotional time," he said. "I think what we’re really trying to do is deal with it as a family, which is what that group of people is. Lea is obviously very grief-stricken but she’s also one of the strongest people I know. She wants people to be better and get back to work. So that’s what we’re going to do."
In speaking about Monteith's personal struggles, Murphy said himself, executive producer Brad Falchuk, and Michele tried to help the actor as soon as they realized he was abusing drugs back in March.
"We staged an intervention with Cory that Lea was 100 percent running out of love and trying to get him better, saying, “Look. Don’t worry about your job; you will always have a job. Don’t worry about fear. Don’t worry about shame. Just worry about getting better and getting stronger,'" he said of the moment that led Monteith to check into rehab April 2013.
"He was like a son to me… He was both very loving and very sweet and also very stubborn," he added. "I really expected him to fight me. He said, instead, 'OK, I’m so glad it’s over.' He embraced it and went without a fight and got in a car and went to rehab."
Recalling the help they tried to get him, Murphy said it was hard to watch someone they love struggle with addiction.
"It’s just a very tragic thing," he shared. "It’s been a very difficult thing for all of us, including Lea, to love someone who is an addict. It’s something all of us have been dealing with for many months. It’s a disease and, unfortunately, the disease flared up."
As Murphy tries to piece together Glee in Monteith's memory, he said that in his painful time, Michele and the cast are leaning on each other to mourn. "She [Michele] wants to be with people. The [Glee] family is her family," he said. "She wants to be with the cast and the crew … She’s also been a rock for many people as well."
He added of Michele, "I’ve never, ever met a 26-year-old girl or boy who’s capable of doing what she’s done in the past week. I marvel at it. I really have taken — as we all have — our lead from Lea. We won’t do anything that she doesn’t want to do. We’re planning a memorial service this week for the cast and crew and people at Fox, everybody who loved him. She’s been planning that and making decisions."