The full cast has been announced for Bel-Air, a dramatic reboot of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air currently in the works at Peacock. Recently, it was announced that rising star Jabari Banks had been cast to lead the series as Will, the character played by Will Smith in the original sitcom. Now, a slew of new cast members have been announced, revealing new actors for the Banks family members that appeared in the comedy series.
Along with Banks as Will, the Fresh Prince reboot cast includes Adrian Holmes (At That Age, V Wars) as Phillip Banks; Cassandra Freeman (The Enemy Within, Atlanta) as Vivian Banks; Olly Sholotan (Run Hide Fight, Evolution of Nate Gibson) as Carlton Banks; Coco Jones (Let it Shine, Vampires vs. The Bronx) as Hilary Banks; Akira Akbar (We Can Be Heroes, Captain Marvel) as Ashley Banks; Jimmy Akingbola (Most Dangerous Game, In The Long Run) as Geoffrey; Jordan L. Jones (Rel, Snowfall) as Jazz; and Simone Joy Jones (The Chair, What If) as Lisa.
Bel-Air is based on a viral video made by filmmaker Morgan Cooper. The video spoofs The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air by reimagining the comedy series as a drama, and oddly enough, the premise seems to work very well. The positive response to the viral video would lead to Peacock ordering two seasons worth of the series in September 2020, showing how confident the WarnerMedia-backed streamer is in the new show's success.
The reboot is set in modern-day America. It is described as a "serialized one-hour dramatic analogue of the sitcom version that leans into the original premise: Will's complicated journey from the streets of West Philadelphia to the gated mansions of Bel-Air." It's obviously not as funny as the original version of the show, but it's inherently interesting to see the same idea translated into a serious drama.
Cooper will co-write, direct, and executive produce Bel-Air. T.J. Brady and Rasheed Newson are on board to serve as co-showrunners and executive producers after Chris Collins exited the project. Will Smith will also executive produce through Westbrook Studios alongside Quincy Jones, Benny Medina, and original series creators Andy and Susan Borowitz. Miguel Melendez and Westbrook Studios' Terence Carter will executive produce as well with Ewstrbook Studios and Universal Television producing.
"From the deepest parts of my heart, I want to say congratulations to you. You have the role of Will in Bel-Air," Will Smith told Jabari Banks in a video posted to YouTube. "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."
Banks responded: "I'm ready, I'm so ready to bite down... Thank you so much. This is a dream come true. You don't know, like, you probably do know, you feel it. The way the show has impacted me and my life, it's incredible to hear you say that. Thank you so much, I'm so grateful. This is incredible."