Last night (November 18), the reunion of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air aired on HBO Max. The entire cast returned, including Janet Hubert who played the original Aunt Viv. However, one of the most touching moments was Will Smith reflecting on working with late James Avery who played Uncle Phil.
Avery passed away in 2013 at 68 years old reportedly due to complications from heart surgery.
Smith said Avery always “pushed” him to be the best and to “elevate your craft.”
Smith reminisced on a famous episode from season four titled "Papa's Got a Brand New Excuse." His character’s father popped up in his life after years of being absent and Smith delivered a powerful monologue.
“I remember in one of my favorite and most famous scenes from Fresh Prince – the father episode – James Avery was this six-foot-four, 300-pound stage-trained Shakespearean beast and I'm the little rapper from Philly under him and I wanted him to think I was good,” Smith said.
“I wanted him to be proud of me… we come to that scene and I was like, ‘I want to deliver this scene so bad’… I flubbed my line on the take and I messed it up in front of the audience and my mind snapped and I'm like, 'Ahhhh.' James says, 'Hey, right here… use me.’”
Smith continued through tears, “With the scene that we do, it’s the scene that ends being in the episode. And I fall into his arms at the end of the scene, he's holding me and he’s holding me. He whispered into my ear, 'Now that's acting.’ It’s like people don't even know when they're shaping you and forming you and crafting you. He knew.”
See the iconic scene below:
Fresh Prince of Bel-Air aired from 1990 to 1996. However, the series will still continue.
PEOPLE reported back in September that NBC’s streaming service Peacock ordered two seasons of Bel-Air, a dramatic take on reimagining the classic ‘90s sitcom.
Peacock shared in a press release that Bel-Air is a "serialized one-hour dramatic analogue of the '90s sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air that leans into the original premise: Will's complicated journey from the streets of West Philadelphia to the gated mansions of Bel-Air."
It’s not clear if Will Smith will appear in the reboot.
You can watch the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reunion on HBO Max.
Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBCU Photo Bank