Did you know they shot Jazz being thrown out of the Banks’ house in 150 takes?
In honor of ‘s 30th anniversary, the original cast sat down together and filmed a truly incredible reunion. Here are some of the wildest and most heartfelt things we learned from the special.
The main focus of Fresh Prince was originally the chaotic dynamic between Will and Uncle Phil. But, once they noticed the chemistry between Will and Carlton, their friendship became an important element to the show.
Will Smith auditioned for Fresh Prince at Quincy Jones’ birthday party with only 10 minutes notice. Everything went so well, they created the deal memo that night.
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At the first table read of the pilot episode, Will Smith and Alfonso Ribeiro wouldn’t stop chasing each other around the table.
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Will Smith was notorious for mouthing everyone else’s lines while filming, especially during Season 1.
Alfonso Ribeiro completely improvised the scene at the end of “Will’s Misery” in Season 5 where he ran around the entire set.
One of the longest audience laughs the Fresh Prince ever received was when Trevor proposed to Hilary while bungee jumping on TV and crashed to his death.
Tatyana Ali had her first kiss on the show, and before filming it, Will Smith, Alfonso Ribeiro, and Karyn Parsons were smiling and teasing her behind the camera.
Daphne Maxwell Reid skipped her original audition for Aunt Viv in 1990 when she learned the show starred a rapper.
They shot Jazz being thrown out of the Banks’ house in 150 takes in one day.
James Avery had a deep admiration for jazz music, and even had posters of Billie Holiday and Charlie “Bird” Parker displayed in his dressing room.
He also gave DJ Jazzy Jeff a bunch of jazz CDs, and they spent hours together in Avery’s dressing room listening to music.
After the Monday read-through, the cast would rehearse their scenes on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. This was when the actors gave the writers — who were mostly white — notes on Black culture, and what was realistic for a Black person to think, do, and say.
While filming the heartbreaking scene about Will’s dad, Will Smith was angry because he initially messed up his lines. Will couldn’t stop cursing because he wanted to make James Avery proud, but Avery calmed him down. In the scene when Will and Uncle Phil embrace, Avery whispered in his ear: “Now THAT’s acting.”
When Tatyana Ali auditioned for Ashley, Quincy Jones asked her to make up a rap on the spot.
Every Friday night before taping an episode, everybody from the cast and crew went into Will’s dressing room and had a big dance party.
The cast also used to entertain the audience by playing a bunch of random instruments, rapping, and dancing.
Fresh Prince fans love Aunt Viv’s dance from “The Big Four-Oh” so much that they send different TikTok versions of it to Janet Hubert on a consistent basis.
Michael Jordan would always send the Fresh Prince cast the latest Air Jordan sneakers six weeks before they were released to the public.
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And Alfonso Ribeiro completely made up “The Carlton” dance in the Season 2 Christmas episode. Ribeiro said: “All it said in the script was ‘Carlton dances,’ and I needed to figure out how this character would dance. What would be the actual move that hit it perfect?”
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