Director Morgan Cooper went viral last year when he released a fake movie trailer for the beloved comedy series, which is now becoming a reality

By Robyn Merrett
August 11, 2020 04:17 PM
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Fresh Prince of Bel Air
Chris Haston/NBC/Getty

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is coming back — but with a dramatic twist!

Last year, director and superfan Morgan Cooper went viral when he released a fake movie trailer for the beloved comedy series, which reimagines it to be set in modern day and explores serious issues such as police brutality, gang crime and wealth inequality.

Now, Cooper and Fresh Prince star Will Smith are teaming up to make the trailer, which was released in March 2019, a reality, PEOPLE confirms.

At this time, a release date has not been revealed as the project is being shopped to streamers; it is a co-production between Smith's Westbrook Studios and Universal Television, a rep for the latter production company tells PEOPLE.

The project will be an hour-long retelling of the comedy and will highlight the plight of Black men in America today.

"Bel-Air is a one-hour, dramatic retelling of the beloved '90s sitcom, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, that leans into the original premise of Will's complicated journey from the streets of West Philadelphia to the gated mansions of Bel-Air. With a reimagined version, Bel-Air will dive deeper into the inherent conflicts, emotions and biases of what it means to be a Black man in America today, while still delivering the swagger and fun nods to the original show," the Universal Television spokesperson says.

Smith, Quincy Jones, Benny Medina, original creators Andy and Susan Borowitz, Miguel Melendez and Terence Carter will serve as executive producers.

Cooper will co-write the script, direct and serve as co-executive producer.

According to The Hollywood Reporter and Deadline, the reboot has been in the works for over a year now. Deadline reported that Netflix, Peacock, HBO Max, Amazon and Apple are interested in housing Bel-Air.

Of the trailer, Cooper told Okayplayer last year: "I felt like growing up I always thought there was more to the story more behind the sitcom format."

"I thought, 'Wow, we could take this story and really ground it in reality in a really dramatic way,' " Cooper told Okayplayer.

Will Smith in Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
Chris Haston/NBC

For the trailer, Cooper said he partnered with Sun Square Media. He also called on the help of a plethora of newcomers with Jerry Madison playing Will, Jelani Talib as Carlton Banks, and Granvile O’Neal as Uncle Phil. James Avery played Uncle Phil in the original series. He died in 2014 at age 68.

It is not immediately clear if the cast Cooper used in the trailer will be in the reboot.

“I’m very excited for everything that has happened and receive it humbly. But at the end of the day I’m a Black creative and representing my culture and expressing myself authentically is of the utmost importance to me," Cooper told Okayplayer.

Fresh Prince, which premiered in 1990, followed Smith's character Will after his mom sent him away from Philadelphia to live with his Uncle Phil in the wealthy neighborhood of Bel-Air in Los Angeles, California.

The series ran for six seasons before ending in 1996.