‘That Was the Greatest Seal of Approval’: ‘Bel-Air’ Star Adrian Holmes Reveals How Will Smith Responded to His Portrayal of Uncle Phil

The torch has officially been passed, as “Bel-Air” continues to receive positive reviews from viewers. However, actor Adrian Holmes, who plays Uncle Phil in the “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” reimagining, is feeling incredibly grateful after receiving Will Smith’s stamp of approval. 

During an appearance on the E! News “Daily Pop” show last week, where he discussed the new Peacock series, Holmes shared how supportive Smith — who also serves as executive producer — was throughout the entire journey. 

Adrian Holmes (L) and Will Smith (R). Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic, Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

“He signed his book, actually, for me,” the British star said. “And he wrote, ‘To Adrian, I love how you’re filling those shoes, Will.’ I was just like, ‘Wow.’ That was the greatest seal of approval right there, and validation from him.”  

The 47-year-old also revealed that after meeting at the “Bel-Air” premiere earlier this month at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, California, the “Independence Day” star pulled him off to the side where he told him, “You’re killing it, brother.”

“It’s a dream, you know?” Holmes added. “You grow up in this business, and you just want to work and get to a place where you can level up on a platform where you can really effect and inspire and create change, and I think that’s what this show is going to do.”

Elsewhere, Holmes described “Bel-Air” as “a perfect balance of both sides of the coin … positive Black stories, which we need more of.”

There’s a noticeable change with the members in the new cast lineup, with many of the actors being darker tone than their predecessors, including Holmes. During an interview with Yahoo Entertainment, executive producer Rasheed Newson shared how the show’s creative team approached the issue of colorism.

“We’re putting a show together about a Black family,” Newson said. “These parents have to look like they — they made these children. So we had to have a very honest discussion about what complexion are Viv and Phil, and how does that manifest itself into the kids? And we chose that we’re gonna have a family with a darker complexion.”   

Morgan Cooper, who directed the viral 2019 short film that sparked the reboot, inserted, “It’s important for us to really interrogate some of the past biases that we’ve seen onscreen. Saying, like, ‘This shade of Black is better than this shade just because this shade is lighter.’”  

He added, “We’re here to throw all of that nonsense out the window and say Black is beautiful, period. We don’t just talk the talk, we walked the walk.”

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