Several of the cast members of Peacock’s most-streamed original series, Bel-Air, came together to talk about what being on the show meant to them personally and professionally. Adrian Holmes, who plays Philip Banks, said that his work is a tribute to the late James Avery, and he “learns more about himself with each episode.”
Cassandra Freeman, who plays Vivian Banks, said her manager called her screaming when she got the role, and she prepared by watching footage of former “Aunt Viv” actresses Janet Hubert and Daphne Maxwell along with Hollywood pioneer Diahann Carrol.
One of the show’s biggest departures from the original series was the character of Hillary Banks, and Coco Jones expressed that she was initially intimidated by the role because she looks so different from the original character. She said her first thoughts on playing Hillary were, “I don’t look like that, and my hair doesn’t look like that.” Jones said she pushed past her doubts and now sees the role as a beautiful opportunity to represent dark skin beauty.
While many were left hungry for more episodes, Rasheed Newson, the series’ showrunner said that season two will explore more of Phillip’s relationship with his house manager Geoffrey, and fans will also get a deeper storyline with DJ Jazzy Jeff and Hillary. The second season of Bel-Air is currently in production.