One of television’s most extraordinary “stories behind the story” could be about to deliver a gritty new drama, Bel-Air, based on the classic ’90s sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, starring Will Smith.
In March 2019, Morgan Cooper produced a four-minute trailer for an imagined series, Bel-Air, which rewired the set-up of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, in which a mischievous, street-smart young man, fictional Will, from Philadelphia is shipped off to stay with his wealthy uncle and aunty to help keep him on the straight and narrow.
In Bel-Air Will’s need for a new start is given a whole new dimension as it’s revealed in the trailer he was caught with a gun.
Smith soon became aware of the Bel-Air trailer in 2019.
Fresh Prince super-fan Cooper created and directed the trailer, which quickly went viral, and he will reportedly co-write the script, direct and be a co-executive producer.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the new Bel-Air has been in development for more than a year and it is being shopped to the big streaming networks such as Netflix, Peacock and HBO Max which, coincidentally, is streaming the original Fresh Prince of Bel-Air sitcom.
The series is being billed as an “hour-long dramatic retelling of the beloved ’90s sitcom that takes the original premise of Will’s complicated journey from the streets of West Philadelphia to the gated mansions of Bel-Air” and adds in anger, menace, culture clashes and pure drama.
It will delve deeply into what it means to be a black man in modern day America and investigate the themes of racial and class conflict while still keeping elements of the hipness that made the Fresh Prince such a hit over six seasons from 1990 to 1996.
All of the original Fresh Prince series producers, including Smith, legendary music producer Quincy Jones, Benny Medina, creators Andy and Susan Borowitz, will return as executive producers.
Chris Collins (The Wire, Crash, Sons of Anarchy) will be the showrunner on Bel-Air and he is set to co-write the script alongside Cooper, reported THR.
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