Classic Will Smith sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is being rebooted into a serious drama series titled Bel-Air.
A drama series reimagining of the NBC comedy show is now in the works, with Smith on board as executive producer via his Westbrook Studios banner. The show’s original creators, Andy and Susan Borowitz, are also on board to exec produce.
The project comes as a result of a viral fan short film/faux trailer (watch it below) directed by Morgan Cooper. The piece took a much more dramatic approach to the story of a young man from Philadelphia, whose spiralling ways leads his mother to send him to live with his wealthy uncle and aunty in the Los Angeles neighbourhood of Bel-Air.
Smith loved the short and released his own video sharing his response, as well as talking to Cooper about the possibility of a dramatic series redo. “In a one-hour drama, you can do eight-episode arcs!” Smith said to Cooper in the video, which you can also watch below. “The dramatic version of these ideas means 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.”
As for the potential show’s first chapter, the short shows Will getting into a fight during a basketball match and having a run-in with the law – the last straw for his mother. “I envision the first season being the rest of [Smith’s] junior year,” said Cooper. “There’s no worst time for a kid to land in a new place than in the middle of a school year.”
With Smith on board, the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air‘s maintaining popularity and the virality of the short (over 7.5 million views, from two YouTube posts), it appears that the show won’t struggle to find a home. According to Deadline, “Netflix, Peacock, HBO Max, Amazon and Apple are all interested.” Stay tuned…