When news broke late Saturday night that Glee star Cory Monteith had been found dead in his Vancouver hotel room, fans were shocked at the news of the thirty-one-year-old actor’s untimely death. Monteith, known for playing lovable jock-turned-artist Finn Hudson on the Fox hit musical, seemed as bubbly and healthy as the young adult he portrayed.

In his downtime from Glee, Monteith was apparently busy building up his film career, including a role in Josh C. Waller‘s upcoming McCanick, a gritty crime drama. The story focuses on a drug-addicted street hustler (Monteith) who clashes with a detective determined to take him down (David Morse). Waller says he was initially reluctant to cast Monteith in the role, but the actor’s determination to get the part, as well as his connection to the role, changed the director’s mind. Monteith was very open about his past problems with substance abuse and addiction in his youth, and recently completed a stay in rehab earlier this year.

“He was very vocal about his past, and said he wanted to tap into things from his youth that he hadn’t been able to use as an actor yet,” Waller said. “He didn’t say it was a cathartic experience, but you could sense it.”

Though McCanick will ultimately be Monteith’s last role, he also shot the comedy-drama All The Wrong Reasons during Glee’s offseason. He plays the manager of a department store resisting the temptation to cheat on his wife. Neither film has a release date at this time, but for now you can watch a clip from McCanick below: 

Watching his performance, where he plays someone so radically different than Finn Hudson, is especially upsetting given the young age at which he died. Monteith clearly had a lot of potential and talent, and wanted to expand his roles beyond playing Finn forever. The Glee bubble would have to burst at some point, and Monteith understood which direction he wanted his career to take. It’s unfortunate that there won’t be more to see after these two films. [Head on over to Yahoo! Movies for an HD version]

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