Director speaks on Cory Monteith's final Philly-shot film

In a bit of an acting stretch, Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson plays himself ("But what's my motivation?") in an episode of Disney XD's "Crash and Bernstein" on the tube Monday.
In a bit of an acting stretch, Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson plays himself ("But what's my motivation?") in an episode of Disney XD's "Crash and Bernstein" on the tube Monday.
Posted: July 18, 2013

DIRECTOR Josh C. Waller didn't want to hire Cory Monteith - the 31-year-old star of "Glee" who was found dead in his Vancouver hotel room over the weekend - at first.

Waller was casting his second feature-length film, the cop-thriller "McCannick," when Monteith's agent urged Waller to meet with the young actor.

"In our initial meeting, he opened up and told me about his youth and his troubles. He was in a unique position to bring something truthful and real to this troubled street hustler," Waller told me from the set of "Cooties," the movie he's producing, starring Elijah Wood, Rainn Wilson and Alison Pill. "Any concerns I had were immediately gone as soon as the cameras started rolling."

A coroner's report released yesterday said Monteith died of "mixed drug toxicity, involving heroin and alcohol."

"McCannick," shot in Philly last fall, also starring Chestnut Hill's David Morse and Warminster-born Mike Vogel (who can be seen in CBS' "Under the Dome"), will end up being Monteith's final role.

Waller remembers Monteith, who plays a recently released criminal with Morse's titular detective hot on his tail, running through the streets of Philly and tunnels of SEPTA for the ultra-low-budget role for two or three days and then hopping on the red eye back to Los Angeles to shoot "Glee." Then starting all over again.

"[The film] connected us all with this childhood side of ourselves because you're like, 'I'm only doing it for the art, not for the money,' " Waller said.

Waller said there is no release date yet, but he hopes to submit it to various film festivals.

"I have plans; I'm talking with Andrew Greenblatt and the Philadelphia Film Society," Waller said. He notes that Philadelphia itself plays a character in the film. "David, Cory and myself, we always talked about bringing the film back to Philly."

DeSean does Disney

Eagle DeSean Jackson will guest on Disney XD's "Crash and Bernstein," in an episode airing Monday at 8:30 p.m. The two-time Pro Bowler is no stranger to TV stardom, playing himself on a 2011 episode of FX's "The League."

He is Iron Man

Jackson isn't the only Philly guy on Disney XD. Adrian Pasdar, who grew up at 39th and Powelton and is married to Dixie Chick Natalie Maines, is the voice of Iron Man on "Marvel's Avengers Assemble."

"I've got a 12-year-old and an 8-year-old," Pasdar said. "The 12-year-old is too cool for school, but the 8-year-old wants to tell everyone that daddy is Iron Man."

Pasdar makes it back to the area rather frequently, most recently filming USA's "Political Animals" with Sigourney Weaver and Carla Gugino. He misses living in Philly but understands that his love of the cheesesteak hoagie (lettuce, tomato, lots of ketchup) would mean he would weigh 300 pounds.

But despite not living here full time, he's still a hard-core Philly sports fan.

"It's a curse - if I could do anything about it, I would," Pasdar said. "It's a burden; I wish I could swoop in and do something about it."

"Marvel's Avengers Assemble" airs Sunday mornings on Marvel Universe on Disney XD.

The write stuff

"Friday Night Lights" author and former WPHT host Buzz Bissinger will be a fellow at Penn's Kelly Writers House next year. Bissinger has kept a low profile since he wrote a piece for GQ detailing a shopping addiction that compelled him to buy $600,000 worth of Gucci clothes over two years, prompting him to enter rehab. T.C. Boyle and poet Rae Armantrout were also named 2014 fellows.

OUT AND ABOUT

* "What's a Geator?" Eagles coach Chip Kelly asked Jerry Blavat on Monday night at Radicchio (4th & Wood), where the two were introduced. Kelly met Blavat after the DJ's gig at the Valley Forge Casino.

* Former Phillie Tommy Greene, John Bolaris, WMMR DJ Matt Cord, 97.5 the Fanatic's Brian Startare and Phillies director of fun and games John Brazer all vied for quiz supremacy at Big Daddy Graham's Quizzo at the Pour House, in Sea Isle City, on Monday. Tsk, tsk. Big Daddy tells me that "none of the dopes" won.


On Twitter: @mollyeichel

Online: ph.ly/DNGossip

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