What if The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air were shot in 2019 and was a serious indie movie instead of a goofy early 1990s sitcom? That’s the brilliant question director that cinematography Morgan Cooper poses in his hilarious fake trailer Bel-Air, which hit the internet earlier this week and has already racked up well over a half-million views on YouTube.
Much like the sitcom, it’s the story of a teen named Will from West Philadelphia that moves in with his aunt and uncle in Bel-Air after getting into a fight on the basketball courts. He struggles to fit in at first, but soon becomes a star basketball player and learns to exist in this radically different world. Only this time around, the movie is shot like a Ryan Coogler film and there’s no hint of a laugh track or sitcom shenanigans, even if we do get a tiny glimpse of the Carlton Dance. (They better hope that Alfonso Ribeiro doesn’t sue them for using it without his permission.)
Bel-Air was shot across six months when he had downtime from his other gigs. Morgan filmed the Philadelphia sequences in his hometown of Kansas City. “It was an intensive process,” Cooper told okayplayer. “The living room we shot in the first act of the piece — with Will and his mom — is actually my aunt’s living room.”
Cooper is thrilled to see that the trailer has connected with so many people in just a short period of time. “I’m very excited for everything that has happened and receive it humbly,” he said. “But at the end of the day, I’m a black creative and representing myself and expressing myself authentically is of the utmost importance to me.”
Now that Cooper is getting recognition, maybe he can find somebody to fund an entire Bel-Air movie and not just a trailer. The Brady Bunch Movie came out just 26 years after The Brady Bunch premiered on TV. It’s been 29 years since the Fresh Prince arrived. It seems like the time for the movie has finally arrived. As Will Smith has suggested, at this point he’s old enough to play Uncle Phil.