Jabari Banks has been cast as Will in the upcoming reboot of “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.”
Will Smith surprised the young actor over a Zoom call and revealed the news. The revised series will be a one-hour “dramatic analogue” set in modern-day, Bel-Air, that follows “Will’s complicated journey from the streets of West Philadelphia to the gated mansions of Bel-Air.
With a reimagined vision, “Bel-Air” will dive deeper into the inherent conflicts, emotions and biases that were impossible to fully explore in a 30-minute sitcom format, while still delivering swagger and nods to the original show.
The new series was inspired by writer-director Morgan Cooper’s viral fan film Bel-Air. The four-minute spec trailer debuted in March 2019, and caught the attention of Smith. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Cooper serves as director, co-writer and executive producer on the project. “Bel-Air” already has a two-season order from NBC’s streaming network Peacock.
“It’s is an absolute pleasure to meet you, to be on with you, and from the deepest parts of my heart I wanna say congratulations to you. You have the role of Will on ‘Bel Air.’ You 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 your career,” Smith told the young actor.
Banks stated during the call that his father was the first to inform him about the casting for the show. He also happens to live in West Philadelphia and graduated from the University of the Arts in Philly in 2020.
“I’m ready. I’m so ready. I’m ready to bite down. So my dad sent me this article about it. He was like, ‘You should really do this,’ and I’m like dad, that’s not how auditions work… But two months later, my agent sent me the call I knew it was right. This is a dream come true. The way this show has impacted my life is incredible,” Banks stated during the Zoom call.
Will Smith’s Westbrook Studios and Universal Television are also executive producing the series. Check the announcement below.