Just week after Bel-Air has found its new Fresh Prince with newcomer and West Philadelphia local Jabari Banks, the series completed its casting.
Adrian Holmes will play patriarch Phillip Banks, Cassandra Freeman will be the family’s matriarch, Vivian Banks, Olly Sholotan stars as Carlton Banks, Coco Jones as Hilary Banks, and Akira Akbar as Ashley Banks. Of course, the Banks family would be hopeless without their faithful butler, Geoffrey, played by Jimmy Akingbola, as well as Jordan L. Jones joining as Will’s best friend, Jazz, and Simone Joy Jones as Lisa.
The new version titled Bel-Air, is a drama series based on Morgan Cooper’s viral YouTube trailer. It was a four-minute trailer that reimagined the series as a drama. Cooper a Fresh Prince super-fan, created and directed the 2019 clip that caught Will Smith’s attention.
READ: There’s a Wonder Years Reboot Pilot With a Black Family in the Works
Bel-Air is set in modern-day America. It is a serialized one-hour dramatic analog of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air that leans into the original premise: 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 fun nods to the original show.
Cooper will co-write, direct, and be credited as a co-EP.
READ: 13 Will Smith Movies We Can Watch Over and Over
Will Smith Smith’s Westbrook Studios will co-produce the update along with the series’ original producers Benny Medina and Quincy Jones. The show’s creators Andy & Susan Borowitz, are also set to return as exec producers. Chris Collins will be the showrunner, exec producer and will co-write the script alongside Cooper.
Bel-Air was picked up by NBC’s streamer Peacock and was given a two-season order in September 2020. T.J. Brady and Rasheed Newson, whose credits include The Chi and The 100, serve as executive producers and co-showrunners. Morgan Cooper directs and serves as co-writer and executive producer.
READ: Apple Studios Lands Will Smith and Antoine Fuqua’s Emancipation in Record Breaking Deal
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air ran for six seasons from 1990-1996 on NBC. The series catapulted Smith to stardom after he spent six seasons starring as the street-smart kid who moved from Philly to the upper-class neighborhood.
Smith starred alongside James Avery, Alfonso Ribeiro, Karyn Parsons, Tatyana M. Ali, Joseph Marcell, and Janet Hubert-Whitten/Daphne Maxwell Reid. Smith has remained close with the cast and recently reunited with everyone for Snapchat.