Arts & Entertainment

Bel-Air returns with new take on beloved story of Will

Los Angeles, US, Feb 15 (EFE).- The beloved stories and characters from the TV show The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990-1996) have returned to the small screen almost 26 years after the end of its original broadcast with a modern take on the series.

Bel-Air premiered its first three episodes on Sunday after the Super Bowl on the streaming platform Peacock, owned by the US television network NBC.

“It is completely different (…) while at the same time still honoring and paying homage to the original sitcom that we all know and love,” director and co-writer of the new series, Morgan Cooper, told Efe.

“You can never reboot the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. That was a once in a generation thing,” he said.

“And so for me, it was really about reimagining these characters and granting them a dramatic backdrop,” he added.

The changes experienced by Will, a boy raised on the streets of Philadelphia and who was sent to live with his uncle and aunt in the luxurious Bel Air neighborhood of the Los Angeles, deserved a separate plot, Cooper said.

Although the crew is different, the casting team was keen to preserve the essence of the characters.

In the original series, Will Smith’s success came, in part, from a role that resonated with his own experiences.

Jabari Banks, who takes on the lead character in Bel-Air, also shares similarities with the his story.

Bel-Air starts the story from the moment a 16-year-old Will gets into a street fight with a gang in Philadelphia and his mother decides to send him to Bel Air.

The series features Adrian Holmes as Uncle Phil; Cassandra Freeman playing Aunt Vivian; Olly Sholotan as Cousin Carlton; Coco Jones, as cousin Hilary and Jimmy Akingbola as the butler Geoffrey.

Akingbola told Efe he felt a great “responsibility” for being part of the cast, as he is a big fan of the original series.

“My memories (of the show) are memories of laughter within the family,” he said. “My memories are learning, being educated about American culture, the hip hop.”

Actress Simone Joy Jones plays Lisa, Will’s great love who was brought to life by Nia Long in the original show.

“From 22 minutes of content from the original to an hour we have time to really get into these conversations that really impacted us and to them in a new way, a fresh way,” Jones said.

TJ Brady and Rasheed Newson are, along with Jada Pinkett Smith, co-producers of Bel-Air.

They admitted to Efe that at first they were “nervous” about working with Will Smith and because of how “protective” he could be with the original series.

However, Newson’s said that Smith “never objected to anything that was proposed and he gave us tremendous support throughout the season.” EFE


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