You would hear so many stories from actors about getting a particular part in any show or movie during interviews. David Letterman’s My Next Guest Needs No Introduction is a fan favorite talk show because fans get to know their beloved actors better and what goes into making a film. Will Smith was no exception, as he spoke about his career and personal life during his David Letterman episode. What also came up was how he bagged The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
When Will Smith meets Quincy Jones
Will Smith tells David Letterman that he always wanted to act. When Smith moved from Philly to LA, he only had a couple of thousand dollars and they started hanging at The Arsenio Hall Show. It was there that he met Benny Medina, the real-life Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Benny encouraged Will to work with Quincy Jones on a television show idea that he had. The talent manager even promised to call Will, which the Bad Boys actor didn’t believe would happen.
However, Will received a call from Quincy Jones, a record producer, who invited Will to his birthday party. Smith had to fly to Detroit as Jones was working on a show there. He immediately got on a plane and went to the party with Benny. Once there, Smith couldn’t help but look around. “There is this big party going on, and the top of the top Hollywood movers and shakers,” Will describes the party.
Apparently, when Jones saw Smith, he exclaimed, “Hey, Fresh Prince! The Fresh Prince is here!” and no one had any idea who the Fresh Prince is. Eventually, Jones explained it was a show that he wanted to set in Beverly Hills, but ended up setting it in Bel-Air because “Bel-Air make Beverly Hills look like public housing,” according to Jones.
Jones then asked Smith where he was from before declaring that the character goes from Philly to Bel-Air. And all Will could think about was that Quincy was drunk as hell.
Why did he say, “F-ck it, give me 10 minutes”?
Everything then happened so fast that Will didn’t understand what was happening: Quincy announced an audition and someone handed over the script to Will. Since the Men in Black actor hadn’t come there for an audition, he was unprepared and communicated the same with Jones. This is when the record producer gave Smith a reality check.
He encouraged the King Richard actor to make a quick decision, reminding him that people were waiting for him on the other side. Smith sat there and said, “F-ck it, give me 10 minutes”. The rest was history and we got The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.