Ryan Murphy Reveals How ‘Glee’ + Lea Michele Are Dealing With Cory Monteith’s Death
'Glee' creator Ryan Murphy is breaking his silence on Cory Monteith's untimely death and how the hit Fox series will deal with the sudden loss. Perhaps most importantly, Murphy revealed how Lea Michele, Monteith's on and offscreen love, has been handling the tragic passing of a beloved character and costar.
"She wants to be with people," Murphy told TV Line of Michele, who, understandably, didn't take the news of Monteith's death lightly. "The family was her family. She wants to be with the cast and the crew."
Murphy said that Michele is, obviously, devastated, and that Monteith's relapse came as a shock to the entire cast and crew, who'd previously staged an intervention for the troubled star.
"It's just a very tragic thing. It's been a very difficult thing for all of us, including Lea, to love someone who is an addict," Murphy admitted. "It's something all of us have been dealing with for many months. It's a disease and, unfortunately, the disease flared up. As soon as we found out, 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."
Murphy added, "He was like a son to me ... he was both very loving and very sweet and also very stubborn. I really expected him to fight me. He wanted to finish those last two episodes of [Season 4], and that’s when we found out about the addiction flaring up again and I said, 'F--- no. We're writing you out of these episodes. Your life is more important than any stupid TV show. You're not going to film. You're going to get in a car right now and get help that I and Brad and Lea have arranged." I thought he was going to fight me," Murphy confessed. "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."
As a result of Monteith's willingness to recover, his death was even more shocking to those who loved him.
"All early reports were that he was doing really well," Murphy said. "I spoke to him, and he was really grateful. Lea was very instrumental in trying to save his life and get him the help that he needed and I think for everyone, including myself and her, it's just a shock. It happened so quickly and without warning, as it often does for many people," Murphy explained. "She's also been a rock for many people as well. 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," he gushed of the grieving starlet. "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."
Murphy told E! Online that Michele is the reason the show is going on at all -- and that he actually considered ending the show entirely.
"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?" he said. "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," Murphy said. "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."
"We had several options. We could delay shooting until November, we could delay shooting until January," Murphy revealed. "But, ultimately, what we decided to do for the cast and crew was start shooting with something that we had already had written. We had written two Beatles episodes in May and had been working on that tribute for four years. We just decided that it would probably be the best for everybody to get back together and be working and have grief counselors on set for two weeks, which we’re going to do."
As for a tribute episode to Monteith, it's definitely happening ... but it's still very nebulous right now. "We didn't have to rewrite anything yet, but we haven't even started doing that because the first thing we're trying to do is a memorial for Cory this week," Murphy said. "We've really been putting our energies towards that and reaching out to people, seeing what they want to do. We're not making any creative decisions or touching any scripts until after that happens."
Murphy continued to speak on Monteith's attempted recovery and how it will affect the final portrayal of Finn on the show. "The physical thing about all of it is that Cory and I spoke, we took him to rehab and he left rehab and he wanted to do his own thing, and as much as you protest when somebody is in that situation, he's a grown man and you can't control him," Murphy said. "But we had had a conversation when he was craving to be sober, or at least on the mend, and that was in April and I said, 'Obviously your job is in tact, but I don’t know how you want to handle work. Maybe you have assisted sober living and not do anything? I really want to know what you think.' He said, 'I really want to work a lot. I love the crew, I feel safe with them. I want to be with people who are good influences,'" Murphy continued.
"Our entire season was sort of at Cory's bequest, keeping him busy and active and around people who were good influences. Now that is gone and that's why after we shoot this third episode we're going to go down for an extended hiatus, where we figure out the future of the show, because we were really trying to deal with him and take care of him."