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Image / Living / Culture

Watch: The brilliant moment Will Smith tells aspiring actor he’ll be the new Fresh Prince of Bel Air


by Sarah Finnan
01st Sep 2021

Will Smith / Instagram

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His life really did get flipped, turned upside down.

Several of our old favourite shows have been getting reboots in recent years. The new Gossip Girl hit Irish screens just this week. SJP and the gang are currently filming for And Just Like That over in NYC. Even Clueless is apparently being reworked with a new “mystery twist”. 

Another reboot we’re particularly excited for is The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Set to make a “dark return” as Bel-Air, the series is based on Morgan Cooper’s popular fan film that, according to Deadline, re-envisions the 90s Will Smith sitcom as a drama. 

Leaning into Will’s complicated journey from West Philadelphia to Bel-Air, the series is set in the modern-day and hopes to delve into the “inherent conflicts, emotions and biases of what it means to be a Black man in America today”. A topic that couldn’t be more pertinent given the tragic events surrounding George Flloyd’s murder and the Black Lives Matter movement last year. 

The series that catapulted Will to international success, it continues to be one of his most beloved roles to date. Also a successful rapper back in the day, Will brought much of his own swagger to the character who was known for being quick-witted and mischievous; a bit of a troublemaker.

Encapsulating each of these traits with little hassle, the role also allowed for more serious scenes as the storyline developed and it’s the famous hug scene that Will credits with really helping him hone his skills. 

Now hoping to give another aspiring actor the chance to do the same, Will had the pleasure of telling the actor they’d chosen to be his replacement the good news… and he got the whole thing on camera. Surprising Jabari Banks on video call, the young star was completely taken aback to be face-to-face (or maybe face-to-screen is more appropriate) with his idol. 

Posting the sweet exchange on Instagram, the clip opens with footage of Banks alongside the caption “in 10 seconds his whole life is about to change”. Cut to Will saying, “From the deepest parts of my heart, I want to say congratulations to you. You have the role of Will on Bel-Air.” 

“You’ve got a fantastic road ahead of you and I’m looking forward to being an asset for you in this process as you build out your life, and build out your career,” the two-time Oscar nominee told Banks, whose next big role will see him play Richard Williams in King Richard

Clearly overwhelmed at the news, Banks’ immediate reaction was to spin around in his chair and say, “I’m ready. I’m so ready.”

Already picked up for two seasons by NBC’s streaming platform Peacock, the series will be produced by Will and Jada Pinkett Smith’s Westbrook Studios and Universal Television. Cooper will serve as co-writer, director and executive producer while T.J. Brady and Rasheed Newson will act as co-showrunners and executive producers. No premiere date has been announced as of yet.

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