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Will Smith to produce dramatic reboot of ‘Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’

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Will Smith attends Nickelodeon’s 2019 Kids’ Choice Awards at Galen Center on March 23, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)

It’s happening.

When filmmaker and Fresh Prince of Bel-Air superfan Morgan Cooper set out to do a trailer for a dramatic reboot of the show he likely wasn’t thinking it would actually happen. Maybe he figured showing off his filmmaking skills might net him some interest to further his career.

Fresh Prince thegrio.com
(Credit: NBC)

As it turns out, via the power of social media, the 3:57 trailer found its way to Will Smith who loved the rethinking of the show that helped make him an international superstar.

Now, according to The Hollywood Reporter, Cooper has signed on as co-writer, co-director and co-executive producer for the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reboot.

Original producers Smith, Benny Medina and Quincy Jones along with show creators Susan and Andy Borowitz are onboard and are shopping the newly imagined series to streamers including Netflix, HBO Max, Peacock. The show will be co-produced by Smith’s Westbrook Studio and Universal TV.

A scene from ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ reboot trailer

Cooper will be working with showrunner Chris Collins whose resume includes The Wire, Crash and Sons of Anarchy. The reboot is being billed as a one-hour series that will be a dramatic retelling of the classic sitcom, taking a deeper and more serious dive into the issues of being a Black man in America in the contemporary landscape.

Smith, along with the late James Avery, Janet Hubert Whitten (and then Daphne Maxwell Reid), Alfonso Ribeiro, Karyn Parsons, Tatyana Ali, Joseph Marcell and Smith’s rap partner DJ Jazzy Jeff in a recurring role, starred on the NBC sitcom that ran from 1990-1996. Along the way, it sent Smith, already a rap star, into a new stratosphere. The show became one of the network’s most popular and beloved sitcoms.

Cooper did the trailer in March 2019. By April, Smith had met Cooper and interviewed him for his YouTube channel.

“That’s an idea that is brilliant,” Smith told Cooper about the trailer in their interview. He asked the filmmaker what made him come up with it.

“I grew up watching the show since I was 5,” Cooper told Smith. “I remember seeing what you did onscreen so it’s always been a part of me. I remember driving down 71 in Kansas City and I was just thinking about the show. I remember driving under this overpass and when I came out, I had the idea. It hit me like a ton of bricks and I knew I had to tell the story.”

Watch the entire interview and the trailer below:

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