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Report: 'Glee' may use footage of Cory Monteith for 5th season
There's a report in an entertainment website, Hollywood Life, that claims there's ongoing discussion at "Glee" production offices over whether to use earlier filmed footage of Cory Monteith for the fifth season of the series. Fox isn't commenting - it hasn't on any of these reports from any source in recent days - but it would be surprising if this option has not at least been raised.
Monteith died Saturday of a drug overdose; he had been scheduled to return to the series this fall.
Here's the pull quote from the "Hollywood Life" story that's getting some attention: There has been talk about writing the first few episodes around old footage of Cory from the show and actually have Finn be alive for a bit in order to lead into a more emotional goodbye — so it doesn't feel sudden. The producers are weighing what the cast and his family think of the idea, and of course Lea Michele, to see if it’s at all plausible to attempt. Regardless, they want to do any angle with dignity.
Good idea? Bad idea? Let's not mince words: Bad. And undignified. And creepy.
Again, I've no idea of the veracity of this, but it sounds plausible, if not reasonable, while Fox/"Glee" are in a very difficult position under any circumstances: They need to jumpstart a complicated production, re-write scenes, and re-think an entire season.
This isn't a minor character we're talking about but a core one about whom fans have deep and unadorned feelings. But to revive him, if only for an episode or two, just so that "a more emotional goodbye" can be implemented? This doesn't just sound macabre, but - much worse - exploitative.
Consider briefly the problem with this: Fans know Monteith has died tragically and needlessly, from a heroin overdose, and to see him reconstructed on the show, patched together as it were from discarded or even fresh footage, would be a searing emotional assault - and not just on Gleeks but other castmembers.
Of course this has been done before - most recently on "Dallas," which I would imagine "Glee" has taken into consideration if only because that episode was handled so well. But the differences are obvious: Larry Hagman had been ill, and even if his death came as a blow to fans, it wasn't exactly unexpected either. "Dallas" incorporated his death into the plot - JR was killed in Mexico, remember? - and yet still managed to give the character, one of the most beloved in all of TV history, the send-off he deserved .
And also good to recall that even a series as estimable as "The Sopranos" tried a little bit of footage legerdemain after the passing of Nancy Marchand - and stumbled. As Jodi Kantor accurately reported in Slate at the time: "...before laying Livia to rest, 'The Sopranos' performs a bizarre Frankensteinian experiment, using technological gimmicks to resurrect Nancy Marchand for one final confrontation between Livia and Tony. Avert your eyes; the scene is excruciating to watch...."
She was right: Not only did fans know Marchand had died the summer before (in 2000), but her final scene almost eerily evoked...a bobblehead.
The death of an actor - especially a beloved one - is always a mighty blow to a series; the death of Monteith was an especially tragic blow. No reason to compound it by dusting off discarded footage. The character, like the man, deserves a dignified and above all loving sendoff that honors the person who played him and the fans who invested so much of their heart and soul in Finn Hudson; a cut and paste job ain't the answer.
(But for some reason, I suspect "Glee" will get this one right, or hope it will...)