Spartan 'Oz' actor now looks to help others
Standing 4-feet-7 inches tall, psychology senior Spencer Frost never thought he would see his face on the big screen. But after catching the attention of “Oz: The Great and Powerful” representatives, the possibility became a reality.
Frost was cast for a role as a munchkin in the film, but because he was born with achondroplasia dwarfism, a growth defect that causes short stature, he was hesitant at first.
“That was a concern of mine doing it, and that was also a concern of a lot of people who put their name in the hat, so to speak,” he said. “In the back of your mind, you’re thinking ‘Is this one of those things where it’s going to exploit me or am I going to be treated fairly in whatever setting?’”
Not only was Frost nervous about the possibility of being exploited, this opportunity was his first acting encounter since his early teenage years. Frost said middle school dinner theatre was the only acting he had done prior to receiving the Hollywood role. Although he acknowledges the role could lead to others, Frost said he doesn’t plan on making a career out of his newfound stardom.
As a member of Little People of America, Inc., a nonprofit organization that provides support and information to people of short stature and their families. Frost was attending a national conference in California when he was approached by movie representatives. He said the representatives were looking for athletic little people and after casting, he began filming in Pontiac, Mich.
MSU Assistant Professor of Media Acting Mark Colson said he has not seen the film, but was excited that it was shot locally.
“It is fantastic that the film was shot in Michigan,” Colson said. “Michigan Motion Picture Studio is a state-of-the-art facility and will hopefully attract more film projects to our state.”
Frost said he looks forward to graduating in May with a degree in psychology.
“For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be someone who can make someone else’s life better, because I know what it’s like to have to struggle,” he said.
Frost’s roommate, animal science senior Samantha Dietz said the best part about Frost is he never set limits for himself.
“He never uses (his dwarfism) like a crutch, it was always like, ‘This is who I am,’” Dietz said. “Even though he’s had some discrimination, he still has the most positive attitude.”
Though Frost missed the release of the film because of a cruise during spring break, he, Dietz and a group of friends went to see it as soon as they returned.
“It was awesome seeing his face light up,” Dietz said. “We had a group of probably 20 to 25 people and we saw it in the big 3-D theatre and everybody just turns as soon as we see him (on screen) and he had this huge grin on his face.”
With his new-found celebrity and record-high box office numbers, Frost said what he’ll take most from the experience is more personal.
“You learn your strengths and your limitations, but you also learn the strength that comes with it.”