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Copyright © Kitley's Krypt
2013 RONDO AWARD
We recently had the opportunity to speak to actress Juliet Mills. While many fans might know her from her work on the TV series Dynasty or The Nanny And The Professor, horror fans remember her from the EXORCIST "inspried" film, BEYOND THE DOOR (aka THE DEVIL WITHIN HER).
Kitleyís Krypt: How did you first become involved with the film?
Juliet Mills: I just got a call from my agent that they were making this film in San Francisco and in Rome. I had made a previous film in Rome, AVANTI! with Jack Lemon. I love working in Italy. So it really came through my agent. I read the script and I thought that this sounds like fun. I never done one of these sort of movies, so that was it.
KK: The content of the script didnít put you off?
JM: Yea, I thought it would be kind of fun. And of course THE EXORCIST had come out a year or so earlier, and Iíd seen that. So I thought these kinds of films are popular, and why not? It was a fun film to make. Two great locations, San Francisco and Rome.
KK: While filming in Italy, were there any language barrier problems, with the crew?
JM: When I did AVANTI, which was before this film, I took a course in Italian. I had to put on 35 pounds for this movie. So I wasnít working before I did it. Iíve always loved Italian, love that romance language, so I took a 3 month course and I really did pick up quite a bit of Italian. When I was doing BEYOND, I spoke with the crew. I spent time on purpose with them because it the one language I really wanted to learn. I still speak a little Italian. So I could converse a little with the crew.
KK: What was it like working with Richard Johnson?
JM: Very nice. A very good actor and a very nice man. I enjoyed it very much. Where is Richard?
KK: Well, he did make quite a few horror films in Italy in the early 80ís.
JM: Really? Because I know him from England, from where he was an actor in the theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company.
KK: He did have a small role in the first TOMB RAIDER movie, with Angelina Jolie. Not a big part, but he was in there.
JM: Was he? Well I havenít seen him for ages. But he was a very handsome guy, and a very nice man. And a very good actor. I enjoyed working with him.
KK: Did he seem to enjoy working on the film as well?
JM: I think so. I seemed to remember that he was a fairly private or remote guy. I donít remember hanging out or socializing with him or anything. But he seemed to enjoy it. We all had a pretty good time. And a lot of laughs. You got to laugh doing a movie like that.
KK: How about Gabriele Lavia, the actor who played your husband?
JM: He was a very nice guy. Iíve never heard of him before or since. I donít know what he went on to do. But he had wonderful red, red hair. But a very nice guy, though he didnít speak English that well. Had he made a lot of movies in Italy?
KK: He did make quite a few horror movies in Italy, such as DEEP RED with Dario Argento.
JM: I see.
KK: What about the two kids from the movie. Where they as annoying in real life as they were in the movie?
JM: HA! They were a bit! I can remember them being a little bit spoiled. Stage kids with stage-mothers.
KK: On the makeup aspect, did it take a lot of time?
JM: Yes, the really bad, horrible makeup, with the prosthetic stuff, took a couple of hours to put on. Then another hour to come off. They had to take it off very slowly or itíd take your skin off! So that side of it was bad, but of course I wasnít the whole film in that makeup, thank God. But it is not any actors favorite, I think really.
KK: Do you remember how many weeks of shooting you had in the makeup?
JM: I think it was about 2 or 3 weeks.
KK: How about having to deal with the fake vomit and gooey stuff? Or did that kind of help you get more into character?
JM: It did help in a way. And of course it wasnít as bad as it looks. I think at one point they were using something like pureed prunes or something that I had to spit out.
KK: What do you remember of the director, Ovidio Assonitis?
JM: I remember the film going very smoothly. It was a very good production. They spent money on it and they looked after us. So he always knew exactly what he wanted. Thatís one thing I remember about him. Things that sort of took a long time, the things that were going to be done in post-production, like the head spinning and that sort of thing, he had a lot of patience with that. He was very nice. It was a very happy experience.
KK: Were you surprised when it became that successful?
JM: Yes, I was.
The producers offered me points in the movie, or else just my fee. My agents at
the time, William Morris, said, ďno, no, noÖjust get your money up front. You
might never see the money with these Italians.Ē So I didnít. And course it
made a huge amount of money.
KK: There are some similarities there with THE EXORCIST, but for the most part itís a different movie.
JM: Yes, it is. It is a different movie.
KK: Do you get a lot of people asking about this movie?
JM: Yes, I do. I was just telling my manager that next time I do one of these shows that I need to get some photos from BEYOND THE DOOR. Because Iíve been surprised how many people come up and ask about. And Iíve had lots of people come up with interesting things for me to sign, like wonderful items from Japan and things.
KK: Well thank you for taking a couple of minutes to talk to us.
JM: Itís been a pleasure.