In the week since the tragic death of Glee actor Cory Monteith, director Ryan Murphy has come forward with his first public interviews since, telling E! that he wanted Monteith’s longtime girlfriend (and rumored fiancee) Lea Michele to take the lead in deciding how to address the issue both publicly and on the show.
Ultimately, the decision to return to work one week after Monteith’s death was made collectively by the cast and crew, who decided the best way to handle their grief was to mourn together. Although Murphy admits that he entered discussions with Fox to shut down the show for good, he told Deadline that the show will return this fall—one week later than its scheduled premiere date—with a special tribute episode for the third episode followed by a long hiatus:
“We will begin shooting in late August the two shows we had already written, so that people can physically go back to work. We will then do an episode that will deal with the death of Finn’s character and follow that with a long hiatus. I don’t know exactly when we will come back, and we are trying our best with this attempt at damage control. We are planning a memorial for the cast and crew sometime this week on the Paramount lot.”
Murphy also addressed the show’s prime demographic, and plans to be sensitive in addressing the star’s death for a younger fan base:
“For many of the people we work with who are very young, and also for the fans of the show, this is probably the first time they have experienced death, and that was not lost on any of us here. I understand that everyone has their own way of processing grief. Every possible option was explored, and what we did was look to the people who loved Cory, who worked with him most, and specifically Lea. This is what they wanted to do.”
Both Murphy and the Fox Network are reportedly trusting Michele with almost exclusive control over the direction of the show and Finn’s storyline. “Lea has been a leader all through this difficult process,” he said. “She is the strongest 26-year-old I know.”