Peacock has just announced the main cast for Bel-Air, its upcoming dramatic reimagining of NBC’s hit ’90s sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. The new cast joins already announced lead Jabari Banks, who will play the role of Will, originated by Will Smith.
Inspired by a trailer from writer/director Morgan Cooper which went viral upon its release last year, the series examines the central premise of the ’90s sitcom through a dramatic lens, plumbing the personal and socioeconomic conflicts inherent in the story. The newly announced cast includes Adrian Holmes, Cassandra Freeman, Olly Sholotan, Coco Jones, Akira Akbar, Jimmy Akingbola, Jordan L. Jones, and Simone Joy Jones.
Holmes and Freeman will play Will’s well-to-do aunt and uncle, Philip and Vivian Banks, respectively. Their roles were originated by James Avery and Janet Hubert in the sitcom (though Hubert was notably replaced by Daphne Reid halfway through the run). Sholotan, Jones, and Akbar, will play their children, Carlton, Hilary, and Ashley, roles originated by Alfonso Ribiero, Karyn Parsons, and Tatyana Ali. Rounding out the Banks household, Akingbola will play the family butler, Geoffrey, originated by Joseph Marcell. Jones will play Will’s friend and confidant, Jazz, originally played by Smith’s longtime collaborator DJ Jazzy Jeff. Joy Jones will play Will’s love interest, Lisa, memorably played by Nia Long on the original series.
As production begins in Los Angeles and Philadelphia, the series also confirmed much of its behind-the-camera personnel, as well. Cooper is executive producing, alongside showrunners T.J. Brady and Rasheed Newson. Smith is also executive producing, along with original series creators Andy and Susan Borowitz, as well as original series producers Quincy Jones and Benny Medina. Additional executive producers include Terence Carter, James Lassiter, Miguel Melendez, and Malcolm Spellman.
Bel-Air will stream exclusively on Peacock and is expected to arrive in 2022. Check out the official synopsis below.
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.
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