Erinn Westbrook couldn't have anticipated that her casting on Glee would occur during the show's toughest season.
The stunning star, who plays the new Cheerio in town on the Fox hit's upcoming fifth season, joined a cast that is still grieving over the death of former costar Cory Monteith, and Westbrook opened up to E! News about the upcoming tribute edisode dedicated to the late actor.
While Westbrook never had the chance to act alongside the star who played Finn Hudson, she can't help but marvel at the strength of her costars as they honor Monteith, who died of a heroin and alcohol overdose July 13 in a Vancouver hotel at the age of 31.
"There's a sense of camaraderie," the actress said of the Glee cast last night at People Style Watch's Hollywood Denim Party presented by Gilt.com at the Palihouse in West Hollywood, noting that the atmosphere has been "very optimistic" on set.
"I admire them so much for being able to do it," she added.
In August, Fox Entertainment Chairman Kevin Reilly revealed that Finn's death on the show will be connected with the late actor's troubled past. The cast began production on the emotional episode later that month.
"The third episode will write Finn out of the show. That episode will deal directly with the incidents involved with Cory's passing and the drug abuse in particular," he said.
As E! News previously reported, the episode takes place in Lima, Ohio, and centers around the death of Cory's character. As promised, it is not revealed how Finn died, but the episode starts off with the news of his death and then moves on to focus on all the characters remembering and mourning him, and celebrating his life.
"You will cry from beginning to end," one insider said.
"I cried as I read it, on every page," said another.
And when E! News asked if the cast is channeling their grief into their characters, Westbrook agreed wholeheartedly.
"I think that, acting, and for them to come back together, they felt like being back on the set was a very therapeutic way to deal with it all," she explained.
"We've mourned Cory, but now we're mourning Finn," Matthew Morrison previously told E! News of the tribute. "So it's kind of like two people in that one person. It's incredibly hard, and we're staying strong together, and I have to say, Lea [Michele] has been the most strongest of all of us."
Like, Morrison, Westbrook has nothing but admiration for her strong-willed costars.
"Again, proud of them, admire them, respect them and happy to be working with them," she gushed.
She also believes Gleeks will be satisfied with the tear-jerking tribute.
"Just look forward to it," she said. "I think that fans will really feel like it was a fitting way to wrap everything up and it was a wonderful tribute to Cory."
"So definitely tune in to all the episodes, but especially the tribute," she added.
We most certainly will.