‘Bel-Air’ Star Adrian Holmes Addresses Whether Will Smith’s Oscar Slap Impacted The Show


The actor who plays Uncle Phil discusses the program’s loyal fan base.

There are still a lot of questions surrounding the now-infamous moment when Will Smith slapped Chris Rock on the 2022 Academy Awards stage. For example, would the incident affect the production of the Bel-Air series?

Bel-Air is Peacock’s reimagined dramatic version of the classic 1990s-era The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air sitcom. Will Smith starred in The Fresh Prince, and the Oscar winner serves as an executive producer for the modern-day edition.

Deadline spoke to Adrian Holmes, the actor who plays Philip Banks on Bel-Air, about the show’s second season which premiered today (February 23). The U.K.-born, Canada-raised Hollywood veteran also addressed the Oscar Slap. 

“Well, there was that thought, but like I said, we have created a lane of our own. We’ve got a fan base that is very loyal. I wasn’t as worried about it, as a lot of people thought. Yeah, I wasn’t too worried about it, to be honest,” said Adrian Holmes.

He added, “People tap in and they get to be entertained, but they also learn something. I think that’s the most important part of the story, just being a part of a positive narrative. It’s what the world needs right now. We live in such a sad, dark world, you know? We need as much light as we possibly can. I think our show is that light.”

Adrian Holmes also confirmed that Will Smith did not visit the set during the filming of the second season. While the former Fresh Prince stayed away from principal photography, Jabari Banks did return as Smith’s fictional namesake.

The main Bel-Air cast also features Cassandra Freeman as Vivian Banks, Olly Sholotan as Carlton Banks, Coco Jones as Hilary Banks, Akira Akbar as Ashley Banks, Jordan L. Jones as Jazz, Jimmy Akingbola as Geoffrey Thompson, and Simone Joy Jones as Lisa.

In addition, the Bel-Air team recruited several high-profile entertainers for season 2. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air actress Tatyana Ali will play an English literature teacher. Plus, Hip Hop recording artist Saweetie will appear as herself.

Bel-Air earned three nominations, including Outstanding Drama Series, at the 54th NAACP Image Awards on February 25. Adrian Holmes scored a nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series. Jabari Banks also made it into the Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series category.