Tragic Cory Monteith had been going through a "rough time" as he faced up to his own substance abuse issues by portraying a drug-addicted hustler in his final film role, according to the movie's director.
The Glee star was found dead in his Vancouver, Canada hotel room on Saturday (13Jul13), less than three months after completing a stint in rehab to deal with his ongoing troubles, and filmmaker Josh Waller reveals the actor had been "feeling better" about his personal situation when they last met up at a recent screening for MCCanick, which was shot last September (12).
Waller tells ET Canada, "He had expressed that he was kind of going through a rough time, but that he was feeling better about it, and then when I saw him at the screening he wrote me a really sweet email."
The director claims Monteith had been determined to tackle the gritty project, a stark departure from his all-singing, all-dancing role as Finn Hudson in Glee, because he identified with aspects of his character.
Waller says, "He was like, 'I can do this character, I know this character, I was this character, I have lived elements of this.' He said, 'I was a troubled youth.' He was so charismatic and passionate about the material it was just a combination of everything that made me think this guy was going to do it."
The filmmaker learned about Monteith's passing via a text message from the actor's MCCanick co-star Tracy Toms, and he is still reeling from the news: "It's horrible, but I haven't really processed it yet."
An autopsy to determine the star's cause of death was scheduled for Monday (15Jul13), although coroners have warned that results are not expected to be announced for several days.
Monteith's fans have already created a memorial outside the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel, where he died, by leaving flowers and heartfelt notes, while one devotee even left a bouquet outside the Los Angeles home of his girlfriend Lea Michele.