“The Polka King,” Story Based On Hazleton Native, Coming To Netflix

BUTLER TOWNSHIP -- It was a happy reunion for Jan Lewan and his bandmates at Dano's Pub near Hazleton.

The polka singer, who in the past had problems with the law, could now reflect on what he calls his new 15 minutes of fame, his upcoming Netflix movie.

“Since I was in polka my whole life, with polkas in the church hall, this is putting us a little bit higher than that,” said Jan Lewan.

The 76-year-old polka band legend is the centerpiece of a Netflix movie, "The Polka King," starring Jack Black.

Lewan tells Newswatch 16 he spent months training the actor.

“He told me, 'Jan, I am going to be 100% you,' and when I saw the movie, he was 100% me,” added Levan.

"The Polka King," based on a true story, tells the story of bandleader Jan Lewan, a Polish-born, Hazleton area native.

After making it big, he talked his most die-hard fans into investing money in what turned out to be a massive Ponzi scheme.

They lost million and Jan Lewan went to federal prison for five years.

“I commit a crime. I was in prison for that and now I am relieved and feel very comfortable to talk about that, and I am not ashamed. I am not running away,” said Lewan.

Lewan says his bandmates played a crucial role in the movie.

They helped create the soundtrack.

“It’s kind of hard to believe, to be honest with you. But it’s all for the better. People make mistakes and then they move on with their lives. Jan’s made the better of it,” said Bob Lugiano, former trumpet player.

“To see your actual life play out on the movie today, and to see famous people like Jack Black take an interest in the story and play the lead role in the movie,” said Steve Saive, former trumpet player

Lewan says he hopes those who watch will learn from his mistakes.

“When you drown, you will catch anything to get on top. So, for any consequences, you have to take it “

"The Polka King" will premiere on January 12 on Netflix.

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