While movie companies go to Neumann and Siegel for places, they sometimes call two ex-models for faces.
Eight uears ago Carol Ness and Dagmar Wittmer began a modeling agency with the familiar name of Central Casting. (It's no relation to agencies in Los Angeles and New York with the same name.) In addition to providing models for the usual conventions, print and television ads, Ness and Wittmer cast the extras for some of the same productions for which Neumann and Siegel found locations: "Eleanor and Franklin," "Billy Jack Goes to Washington," "The Other Side of Midnight" and "F.I.S.T."
"Our biggest source of income is from film work," says Ness. She's the blonde, her patner is a native of Germany who arrived for a look around America, fell in love and decided to stay. "But most jobs are for coporate and government films, where they want talented people who aren't necessarily glamorous."
Feature films arrive too infrequently for a Washington modeling agency to survive on the ten percent fees it collects from its clients, though some movies, such as "F.I.S.T.", may require several hundred extras.
"None of them would wear glasses or watches made after 1955," recalls Ness. "All 300 extras were wardrobed, some were given haircuts on the set. It was difficult to cast because in the Fifties no blacks were in the union."
As of this writing both Triumvirate Productions and Central Casting await word about the filming o"Hair." It's said that the director wants to film a scene near the Monument grounds with thousands of people. It will be Neumann and Siegel's jobs to secure the permission from the federal government and it may fall on the shoulders of Ness and Wittmer to find the extras.
Footnote: It's not all glamour for the women. As the largest of three casting agencies in Washington, Central Casting receives daily calls from proud parents certain their child is the next Gerber baby. "The line they always use," says Ness, "is People stop me on the street and tell me my baby should be in the movies . Echoes Wittmer: "One woman called to tell me how wonderful her child was. When I asked her the child's age she said she was six months pregnant, but not to worry, it'd be a star."