HOLLYWOOD (CBSLA) – A group of actors are speaking out, claiming they never got paid by the Hollywood talent agency which hired them.
After 35 years in the healthcare industry, Arnie Leavitt of Yorba Linda retired, but he wanted something to keep himself busy. A friend suggested a big career move, to the heart of Hollywood, prompting Leavitt to try his hand at being an extra.
“Sure enough, I got a call about three or four weeks later from this person, David Hill, and it was for a Netflix series,” Leavitt says.
Leavitt was booked by a company called Hollywood and Vine Talent Casting (HVT) to play an FBI agent for a series called “Nova Vita.” He worked two days in August 2018. He said it was not easy work.
“Definitely, you know, 10 or 12 hour days, and you’re right, it wasn’t easy, take after take,” Leavitt said.
The pay was just $108 a day. Leavitt says he was told by HVT Casting’s owner, David Hill, that he would pay him in a couple weeks. However, that didn’t happen. Several months passed and Arnie says he never saw a dime.
“This was my first job, I really didn’t know what to expect,” Leavitt said. “I just trusted him.”
Arnie isn’t alone. Christina Casteneda worked on the same show as Arnie back in October. She still has not been paid either.
“I think like somebody stole something from me, and it’s my time,” Casteneda said. “And I love doing this.”
There are dozens more actors also complaining online of not being paid by HVT Casting.
“He’s (David Hill) like a predator,” said “He is doing this intentionally to not pay people, and yet he is staying in business and taking other people’s money.”
When 2 On Your Side went to the address listed on HVT Casting’s social media accounts, the landlord said Hill has been gone for months for failing to pay his rent. CBS2 then called Hill’s cell phone.
By phone, Hill claimed to CBS2 he was never paid by the production company behind “Nova Vita.” However, the production company sent CBS2 invoices showing that Hill was in fact paid in full.
Hill also alleged it was not his responsibility to pay the actors, despite the fact his contract with the production company states the opposite. It reads: “company (HVT Casting) agrees that it is responsible for paying its talent, employees and vendors.”
In a text message sent to Leavitt, Hill wrote, “on this show they’ll have you sign the time sheet at the end of the day and then I invoice them and pay the actors from my office. It usually is about 10 to 14 days for payout.”
It’s now been nearly a year without payment for Leavitt.
“The fact that he feels he can probably keep getting away with this, he’ll probably keep getting away with it until someone like yourself brings attention,” Leavitt said.
After CBS2 reached out, the production company responsible for “Nova Vita” stepped in and started paying all the actors who are still owed money, this despite having paid HVT Casting in full last year.