Decades of riding and handling horses helped John Talip, 66, of Ottawa Lake, Mich., land an on-the-set job during filming of Oz the Great and Powerful.
"I was a wrangler and helped out with the horses on set when they did a lot of the filming," he said. "I was out of range of the cameras, but I got to watch James Franco and some of the other people in the movie. It was quite an experience."
Oz the Great and Powerful is the anticipated big-budget prequel to the 1939's classic The Wizard of Oz, and stars Franco as Oz. It was shot in the former Raleigh Michigan Studios in Pontiac, Mich., a state-of-the-art studio built on the site of the General Motors Centerpoint business campus,
Talip was hired to get the horses ready for their on-camera scenes pulling an elaborate carriage and to take care of them off-camera.
"I would get there about 5:30 or 6 in the morning, feed the horses, brush them and get them cleaned up," he said.
The week-long job started in mid-October, 2011, and required 14 to 16-hour workdays.
And while Talip didn't have the opportunity to meet and talk with any of the film's stars, he did have lunch with a few Munchkins.
"Everybody was very nice," he said. "We were treated with respect, not just as somebody handling a horse. They were very kind and nice to us."