Jack Black unleashes the greatest scandal in polka history in the first trailer for Netflix's The Polka King. The comedy also stars Jenny Slate, Vanessa Bayer, Jason Schwartzman, J.B. Smoove, and Oscar nominee Jackie Weaver. The movie first premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.
Black plays Pennsylvania polka legend Jan Lewan, who hatches a scheme to get rich that finally lands him in hot water with his fans and the cops. The true story of Jan Lewan - yes, there was a real Pennsylvania Polka King - was told in the documentary The Man Who Would Be Polka King. The real Jan Lewan, a Polish immigrant whose polka fame allowed him to hobnob with the likes of Donald Trump and Vanilla Ice, finally went to prison and nearly died at the hand of a fellow inmate. Perhaps the movie goes into some dark territory too, but there's nary a whiff of it in the trailer.
Netflix has premiered the first trailer for The Polka King, the movie that finally mixes Eastern European party music with financial fraud (see the video above). Maya Forbes (Infinitely Polar Bear) and Wallace Wolodarsky (Seeing Other People) directed from their own script. The real Jan Lewan Orchestra recorded the film's music, and Lewan himself coached Jack Black.
Jack Black adopts a wacky Eastern European accent and an Anton Chigurh haircut to play Jan Lewan. Black's experience as a meta-rock God with Tenacious D comes in handy as he gets down on the accordion. As he showed in Nacho Libre, Black does some of his best comedy when playing scheming underdogs, which is what Lewan roughly appears to be. In the movie at least, Lewan becomes famous enough to meet Pope John Paul II.
Black receives support from a strong cast including SNL alums Jenny Slate and Vanessa Bayer. Slate plays Jan Lewan's beauty-queen wife Marla, while Robert Capron plays their son David. J.B. Smoove moves from destroying as Larry David's eternal house-guest Leon on Curb Your Enthusiasm to playing an apparent straight-man role as an SEC enforcer. Jason Schwartzman plays Jan's best friend, the brilliantly named Mickey Pizzazz. Animal Kingdom star Jacki Weaver plays Marla's aggressive mother-in-law. The subject matter seems ripe with comic potential. The movie looks to have a lot of fun with the cheesy look and feel of the polka scene.
The Polka King brings polka and Ponzi schemes to Netflix on January 12th, 2018.