Catching Up With Juliet Mills
By Jesse Steinbach
Juliet Mills (center) with the cast of 'From Here on Out'
Ready for Here TV's first-ever original sitcom? From Here on Out will premiere two episodes on the LGBT cable network on Friday, March 28. We wrote about the show back in January, (Here TV is owned by Here Media, the parent company that also owns Out magazine). The show's available on a paid YouTube channel as well as a premium cable channel. Check out the trailer.
For a quick refresher, From Here on Out is a behind the scenes parody of its own network, Here TV. Pretty meta, right? The show follows gay writer Jimmy Richards (Terry Ray), who, after years of failed attempts, finally sells his television show, Guy Dubai: International Gay Spy, to the 18-year-old president (Austin Robert Miller) of Here TV. But Jimmy first must hire an openly gay leading man or the series will not go forward. Jimmy casts the sexy and talented Sam Decker (T.J. Hoban)... except Sam is secretly straight. To keep Guy Dubai rolling, Jimmy and Sam try to convince the network they've become a gay couple. Of course, raunchy-fun ensues.
“This series brings a full-frontal sensibility to a retro sitcom,” says Emmy-nominated producer-actor David Millbern. “Injecting broad comedy into the Here TV space has created a truly fun experiment.”
We caught up with Emmy Award-winning British actress Juliet Mills (known for her work on the television miniseries QB VII, her Global Globe-nominated performance in Avanti!, and her Tony award-winning role in Five Finger Exercise) who joined From Here On Out's ensemble cast. Mills plays the quick-witted and snarky receptionist, Dottie, and is easily one of the funniest characters in the show.
OUT: So what's From Here On Out about?
Juliet Mills: It's about behind the scenes shenanigans at a gay television network.
That's quite the elevator-pitch. I like it. How did you get involved in the show?
I got involved because of my friend, Sam Irvin — From Here on Out's director — who actually worked with Maxwell Caulfield, my husband, a couple of times in film and television. He saw this part and thought it had my name written all over it. I don't know why, but that's how I got involved. He brought me the script and I thought it was very funny and naughty. He promised me I wouldn't have to be naked so I said, "Yes!"
Dottie is sassy and no-nonsense and totally steals her scenes in the first episode. How was it playing her?
It was great fun. I did all of my work in one day at the Here TV offices. I enjoyed every minute of it.
Does Dottie appear more later on or is she only in the first two episodes?
No, there are six episodes and she'll be around the reception area bossing everybody around.
Yes, that's so good to hear! And obviously you've had an amazing career both on stage and on screen. How does this role fit into the repertoire of characters you've played over the years?
I've often been cast as a nanny or a housekeeper or a witch. So there's always a bit of magic, you know? Even with Dottie you're not sure what she puts in her cookies...
The show is lighthearted and goofy. Was the energy the same on set?
Yes, it was very easy-going. Everybody was getting on with the job and enjoying it. It was fun! The show was shot quickly, considering, but everybody was prepared, which is important. As long as the actors knows their lines you can really enjoy yourself.
Definitely. How do you think the show is going to be received?
Very well. I think it's pure entertainment. I was saying earlier to somebody that is reminds me very much of a 70s show. It has that kind of feel to it. It's the 70s with sex, it's very current and up to date in that way. Everybody seems to be taking off their clothes in television now — in England, too. Soon they'll be doing the news full-frontal.
There's a nostlagic feel, too. Maybe it's the music throughout, but there's certainly a good dose of camp.
Yep, Sam was instrumental in the music. He wrote the lyrics! But it has that feel. It's so lovely to look at . Apart from the guys and all that, it's colorful and bright. And that's what entertainment has to be about now. When I do the theater, I don't want to do heavy drama, I want to do something that will make people laugh. It's a hard life and people deal with a lot of difficulties and chaos. People want to have a laugh and this show does that.
I think if you're making people laugh you're doing something really right. So tell me what it was like working with the cast.
Look at them! They're just gorgeous, all of them. I couldn't believe my eyes. In the group photo they're all half-naked.
Yes, definitely some eye-candy. So handsome. I was like, "This is fun!"