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Posted on Thu, Mar 7, 2013 : 12:09 p.m.

Ypsilanti Township couple perform as Munchkins in Michigan-filmed 'Oz the Great and Powerful'

By Tom Perkins


Cast members Robert and Mary Hall from Ypsilanti attend the yellow-brick carpet special screening of Disney's "Oz the Great and Powerful" filmed in Metro Detroit with local cast and crew, at Emagine Theater in Royal Oak, Tuesday, March 5.

Tanya Moutzalias |

Every day for six weeks, Mary Hall would transform herself into a Munchkin.

Her husband, Robert Hall, also made the transformation every day for two weeks.

The Ypsilanti Township couple says that metamorphosis from man and woman into Munchkins was the most memorable part of their experience filming Disney's "Oz the Great and Powerful" in Michigan. They only needed new cheeks that had to be glued on and perfectly placed, but it still took two hours to complete.


Cast member Robert Hall, 59, from Ypsilanti attends the yellow-brick carpet special screening.

Tanya Moutzalias |

Robert already has a mustache and goatee, but needed new eyebrows glued on, and Mary was given a wig to wear.

The other little people transforming into Munchkins for the filming of took even longer as they needed new ears and other adjustments to make them the perfect munchkins.

The Sam Raimi-directed film premiered Tuesday at the Emagine Theater in Royal Oak. The film opens Friday in theaters.

“I thought it was really neat, but then when they took the makeup off, I looked horrible,” joked Mary.

The movie stars James Franco, Michelle Williams, Rachel Weisz and Mila Kunis, and the Halls said they were first approached by scouts for the film during a Little People of America regional conference more than two years ago.

Their audition was fairly simple and consisted of reciting a few lines, running, ducking, hiding behind trees and doing other things that they would need to do in the movie.

Mary worked for six weeks on the set in the Pontiac studio where much of the movie was shot, and Robert only worked for around two weeks because he couldn’t get more time off work.

They were paid a day rate for their roles, but some days, even after two hours in the makeup chair, they weren’t called to the set. On other days, they shot scene after scene and would work anywhere from a half hour to hours on a scene.


This film image released by Disney Enterprises shows a scene from "Oz the Great and Powerful."

AP Photo/Disney Enterprises

The days started as early as 5 a.m. on occasion, while other days started in the evening and ran until 2 a.m.

Mary is a former Ford Motor Co. assembly line worker for 26 years at its Saline plant. Robert works as a custodian Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti.

In the end, the Halls made it briefly into several scenes. Robert Hall said many of the scenes he shot weren’t in the movie, but the couple was on the steps at the Emerald Tower, and they said the experience of watching a full-blown Hollywood movie they were in was memorable.

“It was great, but trying to find yourself; that was harder part,” laughed Robert, adding that he needs to rent the movie again to find himself among the munchkins.

Mary said she is hopeful Raimi, a Michigan native, will be back in the state in the future.

“I thought it was a great experience and I like working with Sam Raimi,” she said. “They are talking about doing another one, so I hope it’s in Michigan.”

Read more about the Halls and see more photos from the premiere on MLive.

Tom Perkins is a freelance reporter. Reach the news desk at


Karen Lovejoy Roe

Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 7:35 p.m.

This experience is so very exciting and could not have happened for two more deserving individuals. Great people and we are so proud to know they are from our community. Let's all make sure and see the film and be proud together! Way to go!

Julie Baker

Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 6:38 p.m.

Our other MLive hubs across the state have a lot more coverage of the movie and Michigan's involvement. If you're interested, check it out: There's reviews of the movie, more information on extras from Michigan who appear in the film and some other mitten-state features!


Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 6:30 p.m.

Our child did Flipped. I saw her at least 4 times and after seeing the movie again? Saw her two more times. This is indeed a wonderful experience even if it is never done again.


Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 4:33 p.m.

Great story! I sure hope Gov. Snyder comes to his senses and again supports the film industry in Michigan. It was putting tons of people back to work, plus great fun to stumble across films being shot all over the state . . . and later watch them on the big screen! Lots of able folk had to go on public assistance when support was withdrawn. Let's get the cameras rolling and get them back to work!

Some Guy in 734

Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 4:19 p.m.

They were customers of mine when I was a counter jockey years ago. I only know of them what I saw from the other side of a cash register, but I will affirm what others have said--great folks.

The Picker

Fri, Mar 8, 2013 : 12:40 a.m.

Saw the movie Tuesday night and have to say it is one of the most visually stunning films I have been to in quite a while. The combination of Raimi and Disney is a match made in Heaven (at least Hollywood). I'm sure this is only the beginning of their collaboration with OZ

Tom Perkins

Thu, Mar 7, 2013 : 10:21 p.m.

Rose Adler, who we're told lives in Ypsilanti, worked on the film's visual effects.


Thu, Mar 7, 2013 : 10:09 p.m.

Hi Mary. & Robert So glad to see your picture, and to read y our story. You both look the same as when you worked in Saline. I used to be your hi-lo driver, if you remember Harry from service pack. Those were the good ol days. I am looking forward to seeing the movie. I'm in Florida now.. Harry

Pete Cunningham

Thu, Mar 7, 2013 : 7:07 p.m.

Cool to see local people getting jobs in the movies. It's also cool to see local landmarks in movies shot in Michigan, though I imagine it might be tough to find Detroit in the Land of Oz. I lived in Toronto for a while where tons of movies are shot to look like other cities and its always cool to see recognizable stuff from the city in a scene that's supposed to be New York, Chicago, Boston or whatever. I hope this doesn't go away now that the tax incentives are no longer offered in Michigan for filmmakers


Thu, Mar 7, 2013 : 8:04 p.m.

Cole - it was fun seeing A2 in The Five-Year Engagement, but yes - weird that Jason Segal's character applied for jobs at actual places! I'm pretty sure Zingerman's got some free advertising out of that movie too :).

Cole Bertsos

Thu, Mar 7, 2013 : 7:25 p.m.

While it's cool to see Michigan landmarks it's SO WEIRD to see Ann Arbor in movies — watching The Five-Year Engagement was almost confusing.


Thu, Mar 7, 2013 : 6:03 p.m.

I recognized the Halls from my many years working at an unnamed local Ford dealer. Very nice folks. Good for them. Also, from the same job, I personally knew a man that hauled cars for E&L trucking who at 8 years old was one of the Lolly Pop kids from the original Wizard of Oz. Go Ypsi Township!


Thu, Mar 7, 2013 : 5:18 p.m.

Knew Mary years ago at Woodland Roller Rink the best to the two of you !