Credit: Michael Kovac/WireImage

Gia Milani directed Cory Monteith in All the Wrong Reasons before his untimely death Saturday. Below, she remembers Monteith as an artist and a friend.

In All the Wrong Reasons, Cory plays James Ascher, an ambitious store manager. His character tries to keep his marriage together and remain supportive while his wife struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder. Of course I knew him well from Glee, but I originally wanted him because of an interview I saw of him on a CBC talk show in Canada. He seemed like the salt of the earth in that interview. Then we spoke on the phone and I knew he was perfect [for the role]; he had all of this knowledge of being a store manager because he worked at Walmart when he was younger. He was excited to be able to play a really complex character, and someone his age, which he hadn’t done in a long time.

Cory saw the film a few weeks ago. He said he loved how layered it was and he thought it was intense. He loved Finn and always talked about how blessed he felt to have been cast in Glee, but like any artist, he wanted to play other roles too. I think he wanted to prove to himself he could do more. And he did prove it. When I last saw him at the screening, he looked super fit, had a lot of energy. I think that’s why this is such a tremendous shock. He seemed to be doing so well.

Cory told me, just before his last scene of our film was shot, that he had hidden his Ray-Ban sunglasses somewhere in every shot that he was in, and that he would tell me where they all were during our DVD commentary. I loved the grin he gave me when he told me he’d done it. I am going to miss that grin.

Gia Milani is the writer/director of All the Wrong Reasons, which will begin playing festivals this fall.

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