Ottawa Lake man's experience with horses lands him job on set of Disney movie


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."