Problems are hitting this Will Smith reboot project hard.
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The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was a classic back in the 90s. It helped launch the career of Will Smith. In the modern age of film and TV production, everything winds up with a reboot at some point. However, the recreation of the sitcom has hit a massive blow as two showrunners have left the project, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter.
Chris Collins (Sons of Anarchy) was the original showrunner for the Peacock reboot with Will Smith producing. The sources from the report say that it was due to the show going in another direction creatively, a common issue that is often said when someone parts any production. He had parted ways back in December and was replaced by Diane Houston (Empire) as of this year, and eventually left too. Writers T.J. Brady (The 100) and Rasheed Newson (The 100) came on board as the new showrunners, being brought along by Houston and executive producer Malcolm Spellman (The Falcon and the Winter Soldier). For now, Brady, Newson, and Spellman are all sticking to their roles.
Bel-Air is going to be a bit different from what fans might remember of the original Will Smith series. This will be a dramatic reboot based on a video of the same name by Morgan Cooper. Streaming giants swooped in to try to take the show, but Peacock won the negotiations, beating out Netflix and HBO. The NBC-owned service ordered two seasons, with the first season initially premiering this year, but due to COVID-19, it is set to release next year. Even with that window, there had been no reports of casting.
The viral video that set everything in motion was a trailer for a fake reboot that took a dramatic turn from the comedic Will Smith series. When it exploded, it caught the Men in Black and Bad Boys actor’s attention. Morgan Cooper directed the four-minute video and is set to produce, write, and direct the series adapting from his fan-made trailer, which can be seen below.
The story of the retelling of the Will Smith classic series will dive deeper into his character by sticking to the original premise of a kid from Philadelphia moving to Los Angeles. This time around, it will go into the difficulties of being a young Black man as the show explores his emotions, conflicts, and the biases he faces during his day-to-day life. Bel-Air will be produced by Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith’s Westbrook Studios along with the original producers, Universal Television.
The report states that even though Chris Collins is no longer with the project, everyone involved, like Will Smith, was pleased with his work. Most likely, some semblance of what he wrote will remain, but it is unclear what Diane Houston has done that will stick as she was a part of the show for a shorter period of time. For now, Collins is producing and writing the John Wick prequel The Continental, and Houston is co-writing the movie Seacole, a biopic about Mary Seacole, a nurse who aided people during the Crimean War.