Considering everywhere that Will Smith's career has gone in the past 25 years, it's almost hard to remember that his path to stardom began with a successful hip-hop career that veered into television thanks to the legendary Quincy Jones and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. That said, fans will definitely never forget the hit sitcom that turned him into a mega-star, and HBO Max is giving everyone the chance to relive those glory years thanks to the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reunion special, which brought the surviving cast members back together for heartwarming memories, touching tributes and hilarious conversations...particularly when it comes to Will Smith's early acting skills.
For as clever, charismatic and captivating as Will Smith was in the late '80s, he wasn't exactly a seasoned thespian. And before the multi-hyphenate got into an equally enjoyable reunion story about his total lack of auditioning, Smith humorously got put in his place by former co-star Karyn Parsons. In talking about filming the pilot, Parsons called Smith out for suddenly mouthing her dialogue back to her as she was saying it, and she apparently wasn't the only person he did that with in those early episodes. Here's how the Hillary Banks portrayer put it, accompanied by some input from fellow former co-star Tatyana M. Ali.
Of course, this wasn't exactly headline news to Will Smith, who was indeed well aware of his past foibles in that respect. As it happens, members of the creative team were also aware of Smith's quiet-but-awkward habit, and they apparently had to work with him on curbing the behavior for future episodes. I guess sometimes there's such a thing as being too professional. Here's how Smith tried to explain it.
One specific example that was brought up during the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reunion special was Episode 5, "Homeboy, Sweet Homeboy," which boasted the Oscar-nominated Don Cheadle as Will's friend "Ice Tray." Check out some highlights from that episode below and pay close attention to Will Smith's mouth whenever Cheadle is speaking, because it's wild.
Predictably, Will Smith took it all in stride during the conversation, sheepishly admitting it was an issue back in those early days. Of course, the reunion's producers actually made Smith watch some of those same scenes with Don Cheadle, and the actor was pretty shocked by how blatant it was, saying:
So the next time you hunker down for a Fresh Prince of Bel-Air binge-watch – or anything else starring Will Smith from the early 1990s – pay close attention to the actor's mouth during scenes when other actors are talking. If you see him mouthing along, that's just a compliment to the screenwriter.
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air's reunion special is now available to stream on HBO Max. While waiting on more information about the upcoming dramatic reboot, head to our Fall TV 2020 premiere schedule and our Winter and Spring 2021 schedule to see all the new and returning shows hitting the small screen soon.
Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.
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