Cory Monteith's final role before his untimely death was as a "lost soul on the streets of Philadelphia," in Josh Waller's drama McCanick. The Glee star - who was found dead in a Vancouver hotel room over the weekend - convinced the filmmaker to give him a chance at the gritty role.

Simon Weeks. by @wallerjoshc

"He said he wanted the role so badly because he had a very jaded past and he'd never been able to tap into that as an actor and kind of purge his system," the McCanick director told Entertainment Tonight Canada this week, adding, "the character Simon Weeks was the perfect vessel for him to get it all out."

The movie follows a cop named Eugene McCanick, played by David Morse, who finds out that a convict named Simon - someone he put away seven years prior - is back on the streets of Philadelphia. Director Waller explained, "[Simon's] a street hustler. He's 17 or 18-years-old when we first meet him, and then we're reintroduced to his character 7 years later.

"Cory had this kind of opportunity to play a character before he's learned his lessons, and [then] a character after he's learned the hard lessons after 7 years of prison, so he's reformed.

McCanick - Day 5 - Trying to look tough(Dan's tough smile) by @wallerjoshc

Waller said he saw Monteith just a few weeks before his death, at a special screening of the completed movie. "He had expressed that he was kind of going through a rough time, but that he was feeling better about it, and then when I saw him at the screening he wrote me a really sweet email," said the director, adding that Cory was "moved" and "extremely happy" with his performance. 

Moving forward, the director - who found out about Cory's death from his McCanick co-star Tracy Toms - says his first job is to make sure people see Monteith's final role. "If anything, my obligation is to make sure that people see what he accomplished, what he did."

McCanick, co-starring the acclaimed British actor Ciarán Hinds, should be released in 2013, though an official release date is yet to be announced. 

An investigation into Cory Monteith's death is underway, though police do not suspect foul play. He was discovered by staff at the Fairmont Pacific Rim hotel in Vancouver after he failed to check out.