Let’s take a minute, just sit right there and we’ll tell you about what’s up with The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air cast!
Fresh Prince, created by Andy Borowitz and Susan Borowitz, aired for six seasons on NBC from 1990 to 1996. The popular sitcom followed Will (Will Smith), a troubled Philadelphia-born teen who was sent to live with his aunt, uncle and cousins in their Beverly Hills mansion.
Smith starred on the series alongside James Avery (Uncle Phil), Janet Hubert (Aunt Vivian), Alfonso Ribeiro (Carlton Banks), Karyn Parsons (Hilary Banks), Tatyana Ali (Ashley Banks), Joseph Marcell (Geoffrey) and many more.
Years after the series concluded, Ribeiro admitted to Us Weekly exclusively that he had a tough time landing roles after spending “so many years trying to convince people” that he was not his fictional Fresh Prince persona.
“You get a role that you get to fully dive into and make it yours, and create dances, and create ideas, and work with the writers, and directors and producers in molding this character,” he explained to Us in 2017. “Having people feel like, ‘Oh, my God. You were so good, I think that’s you.’ Which I always say, ‘Well, isn’t that what acting is?’ I did something so well that you’re punishing me for doing it. They won’t let you do anything else because you’re supposed to be that person.”
In August 2020, it was confirmed that Smith would be involved in a Fresh Prince reboot. The series would be reimagined as a drama inspired by a viral YouTube trailer created by filmmaker Morgan Cooper in March 2019.
When Smith interviewed Cooper for his own YouTube channel in April 2019, the Oscar nominee raved about the viral video. “What’s exciting to me is the new media of it all, that you put something on YouTube,” he explained at the time. “You just made a trailer, created something. I’m excited and inspired about that new way that human beings are interacting and ideas are getting treated.”
It was announced in September 2020 that an unscripted Fresh Prince full-cast reunion special was heading to HBO Max in honor of the show’s 30th anniversary. When the program aired two months later, Smith sat down for an emotional chat with Hubert to address their rocky past.
“We never really publicly talk about Janet and what happened,” the Gemini Man star said in November 2020. “For me, it felt like I couldn’t celebrate 30 years of Fresh Prince without finding a way to celebrate Janet. So she agreed to sit down and have a conversation with me. And Janet and I saw one another for the first time in 27 years yesterday.”
Hubert left the series in 1993 after three seasons. “Home life was not good at all. I was no longer laughing, smiling, joking because there were things going on that nobody knew about. [The] cast had no idea what was going on,” she explained during the reunion.
Smith, for his part, admitted that he could have been more “sensitive” to his former costar’s struggles. “Now that I’ve had three kids, I’ve learned some things I did not know at the time,” he said, noting that he would have behaved “very differently” now.
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