‘Bel-Air’ star talks the pressure of stepping into Will Smith’s shoes

Image via Peacock

There are just a few days to go until the premiere of the anticipated Fresh Prince reboot, aptly titled Bel-Air. Developed by Will Smith and Morgan Cooper, Bel-Air will star Jabari Banks as Will Smith, a black teen who is sent by his mother to live with his wealthy aunt Vivian and her family in California after getting in a fight in Philadelphia.

The upcoming series will stream on Peacock and marks Banks’ first on-screen starring role. The actor was actually surprised by Smith, who called to inform him that he successfully got the part. In a conversation with The Hollywood Reporter, Banks talked about the pressure of taking on the iconic role, and stepping into Smith’s shoes: 

Going into this whole process, we already knew the weight of what we were doing. We all grew up on the show, so we don’t take this lightly. We’re standing on broad shoulders. We’ve had a lot of conversations, and we’re being very meticulous about how we expand on these dynamic characters and relationships. The conversations we’ve been having have also been needed since the show ended.

Banks himself was born and raised in Philadelphia and described his return to the city as a “meta” experience. The show will also focus on fashion, which was prevalent in the original show, and the actor believes it will “resonate with the sneakerhead community and the basketball community.”

Bel-Air will be released on Feb. 13 on Peacock, with Adrian Holmes, Cassandra Freeman, Olly Sholotan, Coco Jones, Akira Akbar, Jimmy Akingbola, Jordan L. Jones and Simone Joy Jones rounding out the main cast.