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Born in Vermont and a graduate of New York University with a degree in classics, Maxine Bahns only became an actress when her then-boyfriend Edward Burns cast her in his semi-autobiographical, famously low-budget feature debut The Brothers McMullen (1995). As the onscreen love interest of Burns' commitment-phobe McMullen, the untrained Bahns became part of a cast of unknowns who shed that status when the film became the archetypal Sundance Film Festival success story. Bahns costarred again with Burns in his second feature She's the One (1996), as his free-spirited wife. Viewed essentially as a Brothers McMullen reprise with better-known professional actors, She's the One failed to definitively establish Bahns as an actress in her own right.

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