Director Michael Polish has been sued for allegedly assaulting a member of the crew during a production in Montana last fall.
Jack Renner, an art director based in Washington, D.C., was hired to work on a project entitled “Bring on the Dancing Horses.” Renner alleges that shortly after he arrived, he and Polish had a conversation about their dogs. Polish made a reference to shooting dogs that bite, and said something about “always packing heat,” the suit states.
According to the suit, which was filed Thursday in district court in Butte, Mont., Renner said the only gun Polish had was his finger, and pointed his thumb and finger in the shape of a gun to illustrate.
Renner alleges that Polish then became enraged, and threw him to the ground and screamed at him: “Get off my fucking show, you fucker!” According to the complaint, Renner hit his head on the ground.
Polish is married to actress Kate Bosworth, who was also present, according to the suit. The suit states that Bosworth helped Renner get to his feet, but later screamed at Renner’s wife as they were leaving. Renner’s wife had been hired as the COVID coordinator on the project.
The complaint states that the production supervisor soon visited Renner and his wife in their hotel room, and instructed them not to tell anyone about the incident, saying “I will fix this.” Later that evening, however, Renner called the police and an ambulance. He gave a statement and was taken to the hospital, according to the suit.
Upon learning this, the production supervisor called Renner’s wife and berated them for reporting the incident. The suit quotes the supervisor as saying that Polish and Bosworth “are kings,” and that Renner and his wife are “no one.”
“You deserved it,” the production supervisor said, according to the suit. “It doesn’t matter if [you] did nothing wrong. You are wrong.”
Renner was released from the hospital early the next day with a diagnosis of a lumbar injury, and he and his wife were promptly fired, according to the complaint. The suit alleges they were ordered to quickly collect their equipment, and were dropped off at a rental car facility.
According to the complaint, Renner continues to suffer from a back injury and cannot lift heavy equipment, making it impossible for him to work as an art director.
Renner is represented by Gloria Allred and Veronica Procter. The suit states claims of assault and breach of contract.
David Jonelis, of Lavely and Singer, issued a response on Polish’s behalf, in which he accuses Renner of attempting to assault Polish.
“The nonsense lawsuit filed by Jack Renner is simply his latest desperate attempt to take advantage of those who welcomed him with open arms into the production of ‘Bring On The Dancing Horses’ in the middle of a global pandemic – despite his propensity for engaging in inappropriate and intoxicated conduct during the course of the production. Since his pre-lawsuit efforts to extract a quick settlement from Michael Polish failed miserably, he has now resorted to filing this baseless case, in which he claims that he was somehow harmed by his own off-set, after-hours attempt to assault Mr. Polish – an incident which reflected so horribly on Mr. Renner that he ultimately quit the production the very next day. Mr. Polish looks forward to disposing of Mr. Renner’s frivolous claims once and for all in a court of law.”
Update, Feb. 4, 2022: The suit has been dismissed, and the parties have issued a joint statement saying they’ve agreed to “make peace.”
“As often happens in life, misunderstandings can result in situations escalating where cooler heads should have prevailed. And that is exactly what happened when an after-hours disagreement between us spiraled into a lawsuit. That lawsuit has now been dismissed, and we have agreed to make peace with one another. We regret that we were not able to resolve things sooner and wish each other the best in our future pursuits.”