Bel-Air is a dramatic reimagining of the beloved 1990s sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Will Smith’s mother sends him to live with his aunt and uncle in Bel-Air, the wealthy LA suburb, after he gets into some serious trouble back home in West Philadelphia. Once he moves in with his family and starts school with his cousin, Will tries to find his footing and figure out his place in this new environment and community.
Bel-Air’s second season explores the aftermath of Will learning secrets about his father and the feeling of betrayal after discovering Uncle Phil was hiding things from him. Will explores LA outside of Bel-Air with Jazz’s help, turning his focus into basketball and the future it could provide. Will also explores new relationships as he attempts to repair those that were fractured in the first season of Bel-Air.
Screen Rant spoke with Jordan L. Jones and Simone Jones about Bel-Air season 2, who play Jazz and Lisa respectively. They both discuss their characters’ relationships with Hilary and Will. Jordan shared the importance of Muslim representation, and how he was able to prep for the role. Simone, meanwhile, explained why the Banks family is so important to her.
Jordan L. Jones & Simone Jones On Bel-Air Season 2
Screen Rant: You guys really pay homage to The Fresh Prince but really make it your own in Bel-Air. And you guys have the best soundtrack out of any show really out there. Jordan, can you talk to me a little bit about Jazz’s relationship with Hilary and how we see it evolve this season?
Jordan L. Jones: I can’t do that, because I’d be spoiling it. But at the end of season 1, me and Hilary are feeling each other. So, that is still continued. But just like with every relationship, there’s ups and downs and nuances and defeats. I think that you’re going to see a lot of that because that’s what happens in every relationship. Obviously, she’s still a part of my life, but you will definitely see an arc as the season goes by.
Simone, last season Will kept a really big secret from Lisa. How has that affected Will and Lisa’s relationship in season 2?
Simone Jones: Oh, my gosh. It’s really pushed them to be honest with each other, and I think that’s a really beautiful thing about their relationship in whatever capacity it comes. It’s just like, “Well, now you know.” Lisa doesn’t take anything but honesty. I feel like that’s all she asks, and we can watch them meet each other where they are they don’t.
Jordan, we get to explore more of Jazz’s culture this season. Why is that important to show that on screen?
Jordan L. Jones: It’s important to give respect to many religions, and that just happens to be Muslim for me. One of my main things was just trying to get it down, because I’m not actually Muslim, but I just wanted to do it as accurately as I possibly could to just shed light on that.
Obviously, being Black, Christianity is always there. But one of the writers is Muslim, so he helped me a lot during the prayer scene, with things I had to wear or how to act. He helped me, and I just hope that I could distribute and show that religion accurately.
Simone, we get to see Lisa draw a little bit closer to a character named Drew from the Black Student Union. Can we talk about that relationship a little bit, and how that’s explored through Will’s eyes and Carlton’s a little bit?
Simone Jones: Absolutely. I think Drew is a character that pushes buttons and boundaries. And I think that not only pushes the show along, but it reveals a lot about what we’re going to do in crisis, and what Will and Carlton think is important. Drew is a great one, too. Because as a girl character, you can only bring so much, and guys only show a couple of sides to you sometimes. So, having another dominant energy in there is really exciting.
Jordan, you talked a little bit about Jazz’s arc this season. What surprised you the most about his evolution?
Jordan L. Jones: That’s a great question. I think that [it’s] opposed to the first season, where I’m just the voice of reason and don’t really have any conflict in my life. Of course, in digging into the layers, I want to have some conflict here.
So, you’re going to see the same Jazz, but you’re going to see different aspects of Jazz as well. You’re gonna see emotional Jazz too. You’re going to see overthinking Jazz; you’re gonna see maybe angry Jazz. Those are some things to look forward to in this season.
What did you guys want to bring to the role of Lisa and Jazz that wasn’t necessarily on the page this season?
Simone Jones: Oh, what wasn’t on the page? I know that’s a little tough because the writers and the showrunners really have us in mind, and they really want to do a 360 job and show people as people, not just as charaactures.
But what sometimes is not there is just the energy between actors. And I think because we all have such beautiful relationships off screen, we have put some time in outside of the show to have that extra stuff that you couldn’t have on the page. It’s something that I’m so grateful for every single day.
Jordan L. Jones: I wanted to bring a lot of things. I came from a show before this, where I was just doing strictly comedy. And I never want to be put in a box with my career. I’m thankful for the writing because I can play with it. There’s certain times, like in the first episode: I’m kind of supposed to be serious when I pull up to the mansion, but I was like, “F–k it. I’m gonna say something funny right here.” And they kept it.
There’s times where I don’t have to be as emotional as is written on the page. But I’m like, “Let me bring that here. Let me maybe drop a tear.” And I thank God that they allow us to do that too, and have full rein of our character. But I enjoy just changing it a little bit, like I feel Jazz is supposed to have shades on all the time. I’ll go up to the director and be like, “Yo, for this scene? Because it’s serious, I want the audience to see my eyes. Is it cool if I don’t have shades on?” And they were like, “Yeah, do whatever.” It’s little stuff that I just want to bring to the emotions of the viewers.
Simone, it seems that Lisa and Viv are going to be working a little bit closer together this season. Can you talk to me a little bit about how that relationship is explored?
Simone Jones: I think Lisa and the Banks’ have such a special relationship because her mother has passed. Her dad is acting different sometimes, along with being a police officer, and that’s something that just in the Black experience hasn’t been the most kind. I think some stability and love coming from different places, and lessons coming from different places other than her family, is really important. And I think Viv is a great pillar for that.
About Bel-Air Season 2
A dramatic adaptation of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Bel-Air follows Will Smith, a street-smart teen from West Philadelphia who gets into trouble. To protect him, Will’s mother sends him to live with relatives in LA’s wealthiest suburbs, which is only the beginning of a complicated journey for the teenager.
Check out our other Bel-Air season 2 interviews here:
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Bel-Air season 2 is now streaming on Peacock.