It's almost time for Glee to say goodbye to Cory Monteith.
The Fox hit series' tribute episode to Monteith is set to air next Thursday, Oct. 10, with the characters mourning the death and celebrating the life of his character Finn Hudson. Speaking with reporters at a screening of his FX series American Horror Story: Coven, Glee creator Ryan Murphy talked about how "difficult" it was to film the tribute episode, which he wrote with co-creators Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan, as well as the pressure Monteith and the young cast faced when they achieved fame so quickly.
"I locked [the episode] today. It was incredibly difficult to work on. It was very difficult to shoot," Murphy said. "I mean, the interesting thing about that show is that those actors and the creators really, really loved Cory. The episode is called 'The Quarterback,' and you know Cory really was that, to that group of people and to me particularly. There was nobody on that crew that did not like Cory."
Murphy described the filming of the hour "rough" for Glee's cast and crew, saying, "I've never seen a crew that you can't continue shooting because they've left the room sobbing. It was very hard..."It was rough. It was very rough. It was very rough with Lea Michele ... but I'm very proud of it. I think the performances are quite stunning. People still are not over it. It's still very, very difficult."
Several cast members who are no longer series regulars on the series returned to appear in the episode, including Amber Riley (Mercedes), Harry Shum Jr. (Mike Chang), Mark Salling (Puck) and Jayma Mays (Emma), as well as Dot-Marie Jones (Coach Bieste), Kurt's father Mike O'Malley (Burt Hummel) and Finn's mother Romy Rosemont (Carole Hudson-Hummel). Murphy revealed that other actors actually called him and asked to be a part of the tribute to Monteith.
"What I loved about it is, you know when you write something like that, there's no right way to do it, so we wrote it and we put people who were under contract to the show in it," he explained, "and a lot of the actors contacted me and said, 'I just love him so much, can I please be a part of it?' So we put those people in. Iqbal [Theba], for example, who plays the principal and is now the janitor, was not written into that episode, but personally called up Brad and I and said, 'For him, I want to be in it.'"
Murphy also talked about Monteith's struggle to handle achieving fame at a young age so quickly, saying, "It's hard to do a young people's show. That group of kids particularly went through the limelight and became world famous at a very difficult age, and many of them really struggled with it. And Cory, obviously, very much struggled with it, but never on the surface, and I think that's why everybody loved him. He was the most kind, the most generous, never a bad word for anybody."
Finally, Murphy said viewers will see what the actors "felt about not just Finn, but Cory, so I think it's amazing performances across the board, and everybody went into it with a lot of love."
Glee's tribute to Cory Monteith airs Thursday, Oct. 10 at 9 p.m. on Fox.