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Will Smith surprises star of ‘Fresh Prince’ reboot with the news he got the role

Actor Jabari Banks is the star of the new Peacock revival.

Will Smith gave actor Jabari Banks the surprise of his life when he let Banks know he'd been cast in the lead role on "Bel-Air," Peacock's upcoming "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" reboot.

Smith, 52, who starred in the original 1990s sitcom, delivered the exciting news in a recent video call, and then shared footage of the sweet moment Tuesday on Instagram.

The video finds Smith greeting a surprised Banks on the call."What's up, Philly?" Smith asks the Philadelphia-based actor.

"It is an absolute pleasure to meet you, to be on with you," Smith continues. "From the deepest parts of my heart, I want to say congratulations to you. You have the role of Will on 'Bel-Air.'"

Banks then throws his head back and howls in excitement. “I’m ready,” the young actor tells Smith. “I’m so ready, y’all. I’m ready to bite down.”


Smith, right, with co-star Alfonso Ribeiro in a scene from "Fresh Prince."Alamy Stock Photo

"Bel-Air" is based on the original "Fresh Prince," but this time around the series will be a drama, with each episode lasting an hour. The show will still follow the basic storyline of a kid from West Philadelphia who’s sent to live with relatives in the ritzy Bel-Air, California, neighborhood.

While on the call together, Smith asks Banks, who graduated from University of the Arts in Philly in 2020, what compelled him to audition for "Bel-Air."

Banks responds with a funny story about his father. "So my dad sent me, actually, this article about (the reboot). He was like, 'Yo, you should really do this.' And I was like, 'Dad, that's not how auditions work,'" explains the actor.

Two months later, his agent let Banks know he'd gotten an audition, and the actor "knew it was right" in his heart.

"That is beautiful," Smith responds.

Banks also takes a moment to prove to Smith that he's been a major "Fresh Prince" fan for years. "I remember in high school, I begged everyone to be a part of this thing with me, where we dressed up as —" he tells Smith, while holding up an image of himself and his friends costumed as the "Fresh Prince" characters.

The "Men In Black" star ends the call by telling Banks he's excited for what's in store for him, and adds that he intends to be an "asset" to Banks as he begins work on the show.

Holding his hand over his heart, Banks thanks Smith for his encouragement, gushing, "This is a dream come true."

Smith captioned the video, "Welcome to the Bel-Air family, @jabaribanks!!"

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