The actor was so open about his past, in fact, that he recently opted to channel his own experience with drug and alcohol abuse into a feature film role.
Last September, Monteith spent three weeks in Philadelphia shooting "McCanick," a cop drama costarring David Morse. In the film -- which is the last known movie Monteith shot -- the actor plays Simon Weeks, a drug-addicted street hustler who is sent to prison for seven years on murder charges. Once Simon is paroled, the detective who put him behind bars -- played by Morse -- goes on a mission to hunt him down.
Having seen Monteith’s portrayal of the affable jock Finn Hudson on “Glee,” director Josh C. Waller was initially hesitant about casting the young star in his gritty indie. (Monteith was suggested to Waller through his agent at United Talent Agency, who also represents Morse.)
Because he was one of the oldest cast members on “Glee,” Monteith was aware that his days on the comedy were numbered and was trying to be proactive about his career, Waller said.
"He was like, 'I know I can't be on that show forever, so I'm starting to prep myself for when it's not on anymore,'" the filmmaker said. "With 'McCanick,' he was starting that trajectory -- like, 'Let me nip this in the bud right now."
Waller last saw Monteith three weeks ago, when the pair met at UTA to watch a finished cut of their movie. Having recently completed a one-month-long stint in rehab, the actor looked healthy, Waller said. He did not mention that rehab stay, but said the last few months had been “kind of tough,” though things were “looking good now.”
“He sent me an email later that evening after the screening saying he was so thankful and had a lot of pride in the role. He was nervous and scared -- but it was that good fear. He said something along the lines of -- ‘I can’t wait to find out the release date so that I can tell the world about it.’”
How the film will be released, however, remains to be seen; it does not yet have a distributor. Waller recently submitted the movie to the Toronto International Film Festival, which is held in September, but has yet to hear whether it has been accepted.