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Bowling Green native featured in Disney’s ‘Oz’ film


Dan Cota gets dressed in costume and makeup to play one of the dancing munchkins in the new Disney film, “Oz, the Great and Powerful.”

Usually Dan Cota works his everyday job at the Toledo Hospital, but recently, instead of helping people, he has been entertaining them.

Dan, a Bowling Green resident, got an opportunity to play a dancing munchkin in the new Disney movie, “Oz, the Great and Powerful.”

He heard about the part from a little person from Detroit who sent out a massive email asking every little person to try out.

“There were about 50 to 70 little people [who auditioned] and out of the bunch, about 45 were selected,” Dan said. “It was pretty cool. I finally realized I was in a movie.”

Sophomore Karly Fisher was just as shocked as the next person to hear about the local star.

“You don’t really think a person from a small town like BG is in a big movie,” Fisher said. “I was just surprised to hear it, to be honest.”

The entire movie was filmed in Detroit, which was one reason Dan was able to audition and take the part.

“If the movie was somewhere like, Hollywood, I don’t think it would have been possible for him to take the part with his job,” said Karen Cota, Dan’s wife.

While Karen was supportive of Dan’s decision to take the part, obstacles stood in the way while he was away.

“I was probably excited but a little bit in reserve because I didn’t know what it meant in terms of separation and commitment,” Karen said. “But I knew if they saw him, they would want him.”

Due to long hours of working, Karen was not able to see Dan during filming of the movie.

“There was no point because I was not allowed on set and he was either completely wiped out or at set around 2 a.m.,” Karen said. “I missed him, but I wanted him to take this experience.”

The movie turned out to be a once-in-a-life time experience for him, being able to meet well-known actors such as: Mila Kunis, James Franco and Michelle Williams.

“It’s really cool that he was able to meet and work with famous actors,” Fisher said. “I just think that is so cool. I’m not sure how I would have acted around them.”

But one thing Dan said he wouldn’t do is act like a crazed fan.

“The last thing I was going to do was be like, ‘Hey! Oh my gosh! You’re famous!’” Dan said. “Although, it was really cool being able to work with them. I was right behind the witch in one of the scenes.”

Of the 45 munchkins in the movie, Dan was chosen to play one of the dancing munchkins.

They were all taught choreography or “pre-acting acts” from the choreographers in order to be selected as a dancing munchkin.

“I was happy when I was placed as one of the dancing munchkins because I was in four scenes,” Dan said.

He was also listed in the movie’s credits.

“We were a little shocked because typically extras don’t make it in the credits but his name was ‘Dancing Munchkin,’” Karen said. “It was just a lot of fun to see at the premiere.”

Although Dan wasn’t a main part in the movie, his fame in the city seems to be building.

Junior Tyler Wicker, a server in Perrysburg at Bar Louie was working when Dan and his wife were celebrating the movie’s premiere.

“He told some of us working he was in the movie and that he was celebrating,” Wicker said. “I should have asked for a picture. My mind was blown.”

No matter how Dan is viewed in the community, he and his wife are enjoying the attention regardless.

“I’m not going to lie, I enjoy the fame but I am waiting for the fortune,” Dan said.

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