Will Smith producing Fresh Prince of Bel-Air drama based on fan film
Last year saw Morgan Cooper write and direct a dramatic take on the iconic ’90s sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and after going viral and drawing praise from Will Smith, the original star is partnering up with Cooper to develop it into an hourlong drama, according to Deadline.
The new series, entitled Bel-Air, will be directed, co-executive produced and co-written by Cooper alongside Chris Collins (The Man in the High Castle, The Wire), who will also be serving as executive producer and showrunner on the project. The story will be a serialized one-hour dramatic spin in the modern day that will follow the original premise of Will’s journey from the streets of West Philadelphia to the titular gated community and will dive deeper into the conflicts, emotions and biases the comedic sitcom were only briefly able to explore or were unable to touch upon in its 30-minute format.
Will and Jada Pinkett Smith’s Westbrook Studio are attached to produce the project alongside Universal Television, who owns the the copyright to the original series, with the two studios currently pitching the potential series to multiple streaming platforms. Sources report that a heated bidding war is getting underway for the series, with some multiple straight-to-series orders reportedly on the table for the project.
The short film, which starred Jerry Madison as Will, went viral immediately upon its release in March 2019, with the “reinterpretation” garnering over 7.5 million viewers to date across two different YouTube posts and garnering praise from fans and Smith alike, who appeared in a follow-up video with Cooper in which he called the idea “brilliant.”
Though the original series ran on NBC, it’s currently available to stream on WarnerMedia’s HBO Max while NBCUniversal streaming platform Peacock is looking to reboot classic sitcoms including Saved by the Bell and Punky Brewster, which could make it the best home for Bel-Air.