Reboots may still be dominating the TV lineup, but there's at least one series you shouldn't expect to see reincarnated. While taping a recent episode of The Graham Norton Show, former Fresh Prince of Bel-Air star Will Smith said some things that may break '90s kids' hearts. Apparently, Smith can't stand to watch himself on Fresh Prince reruns, only further dashing long-brewing hopes for a revival of the beloved sitcom. Though Smith has gone on to become a mega-successful actor, he explained that Fresh Prince ― on which he played a fish-out-of-water teen also named Will ― was his first big role, which led to a few rookie mistakes in the beginning.
As he told host Graham Norton, per The Wrap:
“It was my very first role, and I was very, very focused on being successful, so I learned the whole script and everyone else’s lines. If you watch the first four or five episodes, you can see I’m mouthing other people’s lines. It’s terrible and I can’t bear to watch it.”
That may be Smith's assessment, but the show has nonetheless become a cultural touchstone for '90s kids, and fans have been clamoring for a reboot for some time now. In the past, Smith has shut down the idea firmly. "I don't think ever, like pretty close to when hell freezes over," he told E! News last year when asked about the possibility of a revival. And other castmates have reiterated his thoughts. "There ain't going to be no Fresh Prince nothing," Alfonso Ribeiro, who co-starred as Will's cousin, Carlton, told TMZ in August, "They need to just let it go."
Smith broached the subject a little more softly when speaking with Norton, though it doesn't appear that his attitude has changed much. "Man, I’d have to be Uncle Phil in that one now ― I’m nearly 50!" he said in the same interview, referring to the late James Avery's character. That's not totally out of the question, considering a photo of Smith bungee jumping went viral earlier this year because of how similar he looked to Avery, but it's also not a reason to not pursue a reboot. The show could simply follow in the footsteps of Fuller House and shift the story to present day, with Will and Carlton now being the heads of the Banks family. But more likely than not, Smith's response was a just a way for him to politely reject the idea of a reboot after being asked about it for so many years.
It's worth pointing out that if Smith were to take part in a Fresh Prince revival, it would be a chance for him to course-correct his early stumbles (by his definition, anyway). But he's since moved on to other chapters, and his filmography is body of proof alone. After Fresh Prince, Smith bloomed into a bona fide movie star. He's received two Best Actor nominations at the Oscars — one for 2001's Ali, the other 2006's The Pursuit of Happyness — and landed roles in feature films like Men In Black, I Am Legend, and Suicide Squad, among a host of others. His most recent titles include Netflix's soon-to-be-released fantasy epic, Bright, and Disney's upcoming live-action adaptation of Aladdin, in which he'll star as Genie. Needless to say, Smith has since settled into his acting chops, and you won't catch him mouthing other characters' lines in any other projects.
Simply put, it seems like Smith just isn't interested in revisiting that portion of his career, and frankly, he's probably right. Sometimes it's best to leave well enough alone, and now, at least, fans can watch Fresh Prince reruns without worrying a revival is going to come along and tarnish the show's already delightful six seasons.
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