Glee creator Ryan Murphy has revealed that he considered ending Glee altogether following Cory Montheith’s death.
In an exclusive interview with E! Online, the Glee boss finally broke his silence on Monteith’s passing and spoke about how close he was to both Lea and Cory.
When asked what the decision in terms of the show would be, he said: “Once you’re faced with this situation, which is devastating…There’s really no way to win in this situation. So our position was, do we go off the air permanently? Do we go off the air until November? Do we start shooting again in January? But the thing that we ultimately found was that our cast and crew wanted to be together, they wanted to go back to work, they wanted to sort of be in a place where they could all remember and discuss Cory sooner than later. As for me, I really had no set opinion. I was willing to do what people wanted.
“Ultimately the person who made the decision was Lea, who felt that the best thing for the cast and crew was to be together and to get back to work and be together every day and talk about our memories of him. So we decided to do that with Lea’s blessing and we’re going to go back to work and have grief counselors on the set for two weeks because people are really hurting”.
He continued that if Lea didn’t want to return to the show, he may have considered pulling the plug as her character is “sort of the show”. But he added that isn’t how Lea operates. “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”.
Speaking about shooting the show, he said that the first two episodes are finished with one being a Beatles tribute that the crew have been working on for over four years. The third episode of the fifth season will be a tribute to Cory and after that, the show is going to “go off the air for a while and take a little hiatus and figure out what is the future of the show”.
He added that the third episode will really be a “memorial for Cory”. He also said that the show is offering counseling on set for two weeks for the cast and crew, but he didn’t mention how long the show would be on hiatus for following the third episode.
Finally, when asked how he wants Cory to be remembered, he said: It’s very difficult and emotional for me to talk about that. I just feel like the thing about Cory is that…Cory really was in many ways like that character. Cory was in the first scene of Glee that we shot that I directed in the pilot, he was the first person on camera and it was a very nerve-wracking time, and no one knew what would happen with the show because a musical had never worked.
“I was particularly unsure about it and I remember after the first take, he finished his thing and came up to me and leaned down to me and said, ‘This is going to be fun.’ And I think that’s the way he was on the show, on the set; he was a real leader. He was very beloved by the crew. I think Cory was very much like Finn [in] that Cory really was a champion of young artists and the underdog. I hope that that’s how he’s remembered and I think he will be because that’s how he was in real life with his causes and his outreach programs. Also I think a lot of people, a lot of young kids, have watched the evolution of that character and have been touched by it and hopefully that’s his legacy.”
Glee returns to FOX on September 26.