I would like to share with you my experience of making the great movie about my life- “The Polka King”. It all began with a phone call I received from Jack Black at the beginning of 2016. That was a happy moment for me. Over the next three months my phone conversations on Facetime with Jack Black continued regularly at 8 o’clock in the evening, even when he would call from Copenhagen where his time was 2 o’clock in the morning. In his thousands of questions during these phone calls he learned everything about me from the day I was born, and he became Jan Lewan. He kept his promise, “Jan I will be 100-percent you!”
The big moment for me to meet Jack Black for the first time occurred at Avatar Studios in New York City. I was very excited to meet him personally. Avatar is one of the last world class recording studios in the world. When Jack Black entered the reception room he walked in like we were best friends. He was already talking with my accent. I immediately felt like I knew him my whole life. In my eyes, he was, Jan Lewan.
Thanks to my music director Stephen Kaminski we were able to keep the professional big band polka sound by including a few of the musicians from my polka band with the greatest musicians of Avatar Studios. They originally planned to use only studio musicians, but in doing so we would have lost the polka flavor. My musicians who deserve credit for keeping the polka sound while surrounded by the greatest studio musicians of New York were: Bob Lugiano, Trumpet; Steve Saive, Trumpet; Dave Burnatowski, Drums; Scott Shirk, Alto Saxophone; Alex Meixner, Accordion; and Stephen Kaminski, Alto Saxophone. Thanks to Steve the big band polka sound was preserved in this movie. When the recording session began, I found myself standing next to Jack Black in the sound booth coaching him on the songs I sang in my entire life. He always wanted me next to him when singing. He said, “You are the great coach!” That was a beautiful compliment because he was singing just like me.
The atmosphere during the recording session was so beautiful that afterwards Jack Black invited us out to a fantastic pizza place in New York City. During the dinner Jack surprised everyone when he abruptly started singing “Rappin’ Polka” and the place went wild. I knew then that we were on the right track for making the great movie.