Mills on Passions and Long-Distance Romance
Get Inside the Bubble: “Meeting Juliet and Maxwell was a delightful experience,” shares Soapdom correspondent, Angela Vizzie. “Their attendance at the Film Festival was most definitely the highlight of the weekend, even though Juliet kept a low profile. She was a little under the weather because they had taken a long walk in the heat the first day they arrived. Also, she was really into watching the Kentucky Derby so, she spent much of her free time in their hotel room. Maxwell was out and about a lot though, and made himself very available to festival attendees." Here’s the whole scoop!
On Thursday, April 29, 2004 a ribbon-cutting ceremony marked the beginning of the 4th Annual Ft. Myers Beach Film Festival held in the heart of Ft. Myers Beach, Florida -- along the popular sandy strip known as Estero Bolevard. A two-story, bright pink building called "Beach Theater" served as the headquarters for the main focus of the festival, to showcase independent films. This year alone, in excess of 30 films were available for viewing. In hosting the event, representatives of the Town Council, Tourist Development Council and citizens of the Town of Ft. Myers Beach once again demonstrated a unified interest in promoting both culture and tradition within the quaint, beach community. Lending their support to an event of this type is also as much a source of inspiration for hopeful filmmakers as it is way to awaken the creative spirit that is somewhere in all of us and often simply overlooked, or just pushed aside.
Maxwell Caulfield and Juliet Mills arrive at 4th Annual Fort Myers Beach Film Festival Awards gala. Photo: Charles Hester Photography
A unique combination of enthusiasm, appreciation and acceptance of the new and unknown made for a comfortable and welcoming environment at the Film Festival. From year to year the popularity of the event has grown and already three films featured at past festivals have gone on to receive national recognition. One entitled "Armargosa" won a 2002 Emmy "For Outstanding Achievement In a Craft, Cinematography."
Other highlights of the festival included an opportunity to attend a Filmmaker's Workshop and Luncheon and gain first-hand information about the intricacies of filmmaking, and even participate in the actual making of a short film.
On Saturday evening, the culmination of the festival took place at the exclusive "Gala Under Stars" event where a "People's Choice Award" for best film was selected and a "Star Achievement Award" was presented to a celebrity honoree. The humble recipient of this year's "Star Achievement Award" was none other than Maxwell Caulfield, accompanied by his adoring wife, Juliet Mills, who stars on NBC's "Passions."
Maxwell Caulfield accepts the Star Achievement Award rom ABC-TV anchor Sharon Gregory. Photo: Charles Hester Photography
The winner of the Star Achievement Award is determined by members of the local town Counsel and on winning it, Maxwell honestly more than anything, was humble and just said he was very honored. He stressed the importance of recognizing both directors and actors alike who put effort into independent filmmaking. “It is unbelievable how much work goes into production of these films given typical restrictions such as a low budget,” said Maxwell. “It is remarkable how much gets accomplished in typically short periods and suddenly an entire film is created!”
Juliet said she was proud of him for receiving the award, but unfortunately she was unable to attend the viewing of his film -- a Sci-Fi flick called Dragon Storm. Maxwell played a hero figure.
Due to an association with one or more of the featured films, several big-name stars such as Lauren Bacall, Daniel Baldwin, Eddie Murphy, Dave Chapell, etc. were invited to attend the festivities. The quantity of celebrity turnout was minimal, however, but the lively participation of two celebrities (guesses anyone..??) surpassed what would have been expected collectively from a huge turnout. And yes, I am most certainly referring to Juliet Mills and her husband Maxwell Caulfiled, details about whom Soapdom readers will be delighted to be the first to know.
In anticipation of being in the company of Juliet Mills and her husband, beforehand I gathered some background information about the star pairing, including how it was actually in Florida that Maxwell proposed marriage to Juliet! She is 18 years his senior, a fact I found to be of inconsequential importance after observing the couple in person. Together now for 24 years, they could be mistaken for honeymooners by the loving way they look at each other during conversation, or by just watching them walk across a room together; his arm gently but protectively guides her petite frame and their movements are in perfect step with one another.
Considering their first encounter in Florida took place over two decades ago, they relayed details of the very passionate beginning to their relationship with fresh enthusiasm and sincerity. Maxwell to this day sustains a degree of disbelief over "his great fortune in ultimately earning the title role, despite originally being the actor of second choice" to play along side the already widely renowned Juliet, in the 1980 Florida theater production of "The Elephant Man."
Maxwell, very engaging and personable from the moment I was introduced to him, in this case made a special effort to provide me a brief description of the plot of "The Elephant Man."
"Even as early as getting to know Juliet though our roles opposite one another, where her character was able to develop feelings for a man and see beyond his grossly deformed physical appearance," he credits Juliet for "believing in him with the same confidence and loyalty her character lent to the Elephant Man."
This leads me to perhaps my most favorite quote from the entire interview, said by Maxwell; "Juliet saw the man in me before I even knew the man that I was."
Juliet Mills accepts a bouquet of flowers from Fort Myers Beach Film Festival Director Michelle Mayher at the festival awards gala on Saturday night, May 1, as husband and Star Achievement Award winner, Maxwell Caulfield, looks on. Photo: Charles Hester Photography
Juliet responded by reaffirming that she believed in the strength and unending potential of their love right from the beginning. So of course we all shared a laugh when I couldn't help but immediately point out that Juliet just may share some of her alter-ego's witching prowess with that prediction! She playfully continued the joke by exclaiming that she had also accurately predicted the winner of the Kentucky Derby held earlier that afternoon, and clarified that her bet was based merely on a "feeling about the horse" and was completely unresearched. A woman with a fun, light-hearted sense of humor, she also noted with excitement that her winning prediction resulted in a $250 gain!
Talking with Juliet, and noticing the soft and devoted way she interacts with her husband made it even easier to appreciate the brilliance of her portrayal of the formidable witch she plays on "Passions," where her character is obsessed with destroying all hopes for happiness of almost all who come into contact with her. Despite the constant turmoil her character instigates showing no remorse for her actions, it is remarkable how Juliet has managed to also make watching Tabitha a welcomed source of comic relief and an almost likeable character!
I asked Juliet to tell me which storyline on "Passions" is currently her favorite and she immediately gushed with rave reviews about how much she enjoys being a mother to her new demon baby, Endora, and what a strong bond she has already established with the little baby. She sees great potential for a wide variety of storylines now with Endora around. However when asked if she could choose her next storyline, what would it be -- she responded very quickly that she "truly prefers being surprised by what is in store for Tabitha" and she has complete confidence in the producers and writers at ‘Passions.’ She is "proud to be part of a show that is so innovative and different from any other."
What a treat to have an opportunity to spend time in the company of such a positive and seasoned actress. With the many cast changes that "Passions" has experienced, I asked Juliet how she has been able to adjust to a sudden re-cast of a character with whom she works closely. Responding to this question she again quickly highlighted the positive, saying that "certainly it can be difficult say goodbye to a co-star but cast changes are simply something actors have to accept." With the recent replacement of the character of Kay, now portrayed by Heidi Mueller, Juliet admitted that "all she could do was hope for the best" and as it has turned out, she has already grown very fond of the new young actress.
As Juliet works hard each day to bring the character of Tabitha to life for us to enjoy, her one true love, Maxwell, stars in a show that is filmed and airs on the BBC in England! How is it then, that an actress who dedicates her professional life to an industry that bases itself on love and romance is able to go home alone at the end of the day, while the love of her life resides on another continent?
"By taking advantage of long weekends and acquiring lots of frequent flyer miles!" Juliet quipped. Also, "by knowing the situation is only temporary!" In fact, in September Maxwell is scheduled to wrap up the current role he plays on “Casualty,” a show for the BBC television network in England, a role he could not turn down because it was specifically created for him. “Casualty” is a medical drama and he plays an American pediatrician named Jim Brodie.
The time they have spent apart will amount in total to just one year but is the longest they have ever been separated from one another. "I'd like to think that having to live so far from each other has only added more romance to our relationship...you should see the lovely cards and letters he writes me now!” Juliet enthused.
I have no doubt that their romance will continue. Juliet Mills and Maxwell Caulfield each contribute so much natural charm to their relationship, it seems almost magical.
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