Before Will Smith became one of the biggest film stars on the planet, the former rapper made a name for himself through the sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. A groundbreaking series at the time, the show is probably best remembered for its opening song, which you probably know the words to even if you’ve never seen a single episode.
The show was particularly inspiring to young cinematographer Morgan Copper, who created a short film based on the series and removed the comedy, making it a more real-world exploration of what it would really be like for a black family to live in the mostly white Bel-Air society. A trailer for it can be viewed below:
The idea found big support from Will Smith himself, and has now landed a two-season order from NBCUniversal’s streaming service Peacock (as reported by /Film). Something which is particularly special considering that the two-season order is based on a pitch alone. Cooper is set to direct, co-write, and serve as a co-executive producer for this new series, and will be receiving assistance from the more experienced Chris Collins (The Man in the High Castle, The Wire), who will also serve as a writer, showrunner, and executive producer.
Set in modern-day America, Bel-Air is a serialized one-hour dramatic analogue of the 90’s sitcom “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 nods to the original show.
It might not be the Bel-Air we all know, but it could be a particularly insightful look at the wealth gap between the different racial groups in the US and no doubt highlight a lot of the harsh realities of what living amongst the rich and the famous must really be like. Fans wanting to see more of Smith himself will have something to look forward to, as there is reportedly a reunion special coming to HBO Max that features the show’s entire cast sans the late James Avery, who starred as Uncle Phil and passed away in 2013.
Last Updated: September 10, 2020