One of the things people always bring up when talking about Will Smith’s breakout acting role, The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air, was its occasional willingness to get real. Sure, the NBC sitcom sometimes veered too far into Very Special territory—there’s a bit of “Jessie Spano hepped up on caffeine pills” to that episode where Carlton ended up overdosing on Will’s secret speed stash, to be sure—but if you don’t get a little lump in your throat at “How come he don’t want me?” well, you’ve got fewer televisual daddy issues than us.
All of which made the show something of a rich vein when filmmaker Morgan Cooper went mining for angst with his recent dramatic re-imagining of the series, “Bel-Air.” Rather than the million or so “Hey, what if Bert from Sesame Street was actually a murderer?” videos that have been popping up on the internet since, roughly, 1875, Cooper’s trailer takes its premise entirely seriously, diving into why a West Philly mother might send her son out of the city and into the sternly welcoming arms of her relatives in one of Los Angeles’ most affluent neighborhoods. Uploaded to YouTube last month, the video has earned itself a number of fans for its 2019 TV look at a very 1990 idea—including the Fresh Prince himself, as it turns out.
Smith announced his appreciation for Cooper’s work in the most direct way possible: Flying out to visit and interview him for his YouTube channel, including placing a full version of the trailer itself in front of his 5 million subscribers. The interview itself is pretty boilerplate stuff—although Smith does, briefly, get into the way his fictional counterpart’s life mimics his own, noting all the friends he grew up with who died young on the Philadelphia streets—but his delight at the whole thing is pretty obvious and infectious.