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Digital Subscriptions > Newsweek International > 26th January 2018 > Jack Black

Jack Black


Illustration by BRITT SPENCER

IT WOULDN’T BE SURPRISING TO LEARN THAT PLAYING JAN “LEWAN” Lewandowski, the King of Pennsylvania Polka, was on Jack Black’s bucket list. In truth, however, the eccentrically charming actor and comedian had never heard of the eccentrically charming Lewan, let alone been to a polka concert. That changed when Black saw The Man Who Would Be Polka King, a documentary about the bandleader-turned-fraudster (imprisoned in 2004 for a Ponzi scheme). The epiphany was instantaneous: “I had to play this man,” says Black, whose musical skills are well established, as one-half of the satirical rock duo Tenacious D and in the 2003 film School of Rock. For The Polka King (Netflix), Black went deep, forming the Jack Black Polka Band to reimagine Lewan’s Grammy-nominated songs. In addition to falling hard for the music, Black fell (platonically) for his co-star, Jenny Slate, who plays Lewan’s wife. “Everybody knows she’s great,” he says, “but I still feel like she’s an undiscovered talent. If I could buy stock in an actor, I would put it all on Jenny Slate.”

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