Most are familiar with Will Smith's The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, which has become a television staple long after its original run ended. The series launched Smith into superstardom, but a filmmaker named Morgan Cooper decided to take the ideas and premise of the beloved original series and bring it into the modern day, and the results were quite impressive. In fact, Smith thought so too, and so he welcomed Cooper to chat about the series, including where the idea came from and what the future plans are.
Smith interviewed Cooper on his YouTube channel and was more than impressed with Bel-Air. "I saw this trailer that Morgan Cooper hooked up, it was called Bel-Air," Smith told Cooper. "This is the first time that I heard something and I was like 'Yo, that's an idea that is brilliant.'"
Morgan grew up a big fan of the show and Smith in general, and that definitely had something to do with the origination of the idea. "I grew up watching the show," Morgan said. "It's something that ever since I was a five I remember watching it and I remember seeing what you did onscreen, so it's always been a part of me. And so I remember driving down 71 in Kansas City and I was just thinking about the show, and I remember driving under this overpass and I would say I drove under it and when I came out I had the idea. It hit me like a ton of bricks, and I knew I had to tell that story."
Smith loved the idea of taking a dramatic angle on the played for laugh events of the show, as they didn't have the chance to do as much of that as they would've like during the original series.
"Mike wrote from the first season of Fresh Prince," Smith said. "As funny as the episodes are, there was a whole other layer that you couldn't do, like, in a one-hour drama you can do eight-episode arcs. The dramatic versions of these ideas mean that you can use existing storylines but it's not going to seem like you're redoing an episode because the storyline's going to be brand new from the dramatic perspective."
The trailer has gone viral, and there are hopes for a pilot. If that happens, Cooper gave a tease of what fans can expect. "You know this incident takes place in the middle of Will's junior year," Cooper said. "I envision the first season being the rest of his junior year. There's no worse time for a kid to land in a new place than in the middle of a school year."
You can watch the full interview in the video above.
Bel-Air is directed and written by Morgan Cooper and stars Jerry Madison (Will), Sherri Roulette-Mosley (Vy), Granvile O'Neal (Uncle Phil), Kira Ashby (Aunt Viv), Jelani Talib (Carlton), Rufus Burns (Jazz), Sada K (Hilary), Khrystal Coppage (Ashley), and Jada Paige (Lisa), you can find the official description below.
"What would happen if Will Smith made The Fresh Prince today? Bel-Air, a story of a kid from Philly whose life got turned upside-down... in 2019. A fan made film."
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