Jack Black wants his movie to hit theaters just so he can polka his way through the talk show circuit.
“I just want it to be in theaters so that I can go on talk shows and promote it, because I know exactly what I want to do,” Black said at TheWrap’s interview studio at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. “I don’t like to do talk shows, it’s very nerve-racking. But for this one, I really want to get out there and polka. Is that a dumb reason to want this movie to be released?”
Other actors in the film — Jenny Slate, Jason Schwartzman, and Willie Garson — voiced their support for Black’s plan.
“It is secretly one of my goals with releasing this movie to bring polka back,” added the actor, who stars as Pennsylvania polka legend Jan Lewan. “It’s funny to think about: There are zero places to listen to polka on the radio dial now. There was a time in American history when it was the hottest thing playing at the high schools! It’s sort of the sleeping beast that I think we’re going to awaken … It definitely opened my world, because I had not listened to polka at all before this movie. And I can see it definitely becoming part of my heavy rotation.”
Written and directed by Maya Forbes and Wallace Wolodarsky, “The Polka King” follows the story of Lewan who develops a plan to become rich that shocks his fans — and eventually lands him in jail. It is based on Joshua Brown and John Mikulak’s documentary “The Man Who Would Be Polka King.”
“I had never really listened to polka music before but it grabbed me by the short hairs and wouldn’t let go,” said Black. “Everyone who is sitting here was drawn powerfully to the project I think in the same way … we were drawn by a powerful polka force.”
Forbes said filmmakers were drawn to it because the character of Jan Lewan “was a very energetic” and also “complicated.” She called it a story about “the American dream” and its “pitfalls.”
Slate plays Jan’s wife, whom Slate describes as a “fun, colorful character to play.”
“I think I played it with the same energy that I played dress up as a little kid,” she said. “You put on a costume and you absolutely act like you’re that person and has the energy of a game, the energy of innocence and play but also stakes, I think. It was just a joyful experience to play this lady whose husband is doing this very bad crime to these sweet old people.”
Jacki Weaver, Vanessa Bayer and J. B. Smoove also star in the film that had its world premiere on Sunday at the Eccles Theatre in Park City.
Watch the video above.