‘Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ Reboot Finds Actor To Play Will Smith's Role

Will Smith + Jazzy Jeff

Photo: Getty Images

Rising filmmaker Morgan Cooper has found the lead actor for his dramatic reboot of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. His name is Jabari Banks, a north Philadelphia native who graduated from the University of the Arts last year. Much like Will Smith, the up-and-coming actor also writes music, raps and plays basketball.

"Now, this is a story all about how my life got flipped [and] turned upside down. And I’d like to take a minute, just sit right there. I’ll tell you how I became the prince of a town called Bel-Air," Banks wrote on Instagram.

"This is truly a dream come true! Thank you [Will Smith and Morgan Cooper] for trusting me with this iconic role! I can’t wait to make you all laugh, cry, and feel every emotion in between."

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reboot is inspired by a trailer put together by Morgan Cooper that reimagined the classic series as a drama. Over time, the trailer gained traction and landed Cooper a one-on-one with Smith.

“I saw this trailer that Morgan Cooper hooked up, it was called Bel-Air,” Smith said in a YouTube video after watching the trailer.

“This is the first time that I heard something and I was like ‘Yo, that’s an idea that is brilliant.'”

After meeting with Smith, the two teamed up and began pitching the reboot to networks. Ultimately, it landed on NBC's streaming service, Peacock. The streaming service gave the show a two-season order, one year ago this month. Cooper will work on the show as a co-writer, director, and executive producer. Joining him, T.J. Brady and Rasheed Newson will work as co-showrunners and executive producers. Rounding out the team, Smith, Quincy Jones and Benny Medina will also stand in as executive producers.

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