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Jacki Weaver, Jason Schwartzman join Jack Black’s polka crime caper

Jackie Weaver and friends in Silver Linings Playbook

Deadline reports that Jacki Weaver and Jason Schwartzman are joining Jack Black in what appears destined to be a deep cut on his IMDB page, The Man Who Would Be Polka King. Based on a true story and the 2009 documentary that brought it all to light, the film—starring and produced by Black and written and directed by Maya Forbes and Wally Wolodarsky (Infinity Polar Bear)—traces the rise and fall of Jan Lewan, “a Pennsylvania polka sensation who unwittingly brought a town to its knees in a Ponzi scheme.”

Originally from Poland, Lewan became an American citizen in the mid-’80s, when his growing fame as part of a Polish musical group was enough to warrant performances at venues like the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City. He also nabbed a Grammy nomination. Simultaneously, Lewan organized trips to Poland for his fans, where he would buy souvenirs at Soviet-era prices, take them back to America, and then resell them at his own store for much more money. He even “started offering unregistered promissory notes at 12 percent interest.” After his businesses faltered, he declared bankruptcy and was later sent to jail for swindling money from people in multiple states. According to Deadline, Lewan might be the perpetrator of the only “polka-related financial crimes in history.”


It’s unclear which roles Weaver and Schwartzman will play in the film. Our guess is that Schwartzman plays a member of the Polish musical group and Weaver gets swindled, but it could just as easily be the other way around since—sorry for the generalization—polka music isn’t exactly a young man’s game.

You can next see Weaver, who earned Oscar nominations for Animal Kingdom and Silver Linings Playbook, in the James Franco-directed The Masterpiece, formerly titled The Disaster Artist. Schwartzman will appear next in Alex Ross Perry’s Golden Exits and probably whatever the hell Wes Anderson is up to with those puppets.

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