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The Fascinating Way Will Smith Memorized His Lines For The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air

Will Smith is more famous than ever in 2022, although not necessarily for the best reason. Even if you were somehow unaware of the Hollywood superstar, you would have definitely seen him in the news following his storming of the Oscar stage to take a swing at Chris Rock (via the Los Angeles Times). Though the star has since apologized for the incident, its ramifications have been incredibly serious for his career (via The Hollywood Reporter).

Before that massive news story made the rounds, Smith was making headlines for a more wholesome reason. The rapper-turned-actor, who made it big on the back of the iconic '90s sitcom "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," met up with his co-stars from the series for an emotional 25-year reunion. Only James Avery, who sadly has passed away, was absent from the special. While the cast was more than happy to celebrate his memory during the reunion, many other behind-the-scenes details from the show and its history emerged during "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" special as well.

Will Smith memorized his lines by internalizing the entire script

Karyn Parsons, who played Hilary Banks on "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," remembered how nervous she was to shoot the first episode of the series and that Will Smith didn't help matters. The rapper was new to acting at the time and had memorized everyone's lines to get his own down (via NBC News). Though this in and of itself was not a problem, Smith had the bad habit of mouthing other actors' lines while they were saying them, which would sometimes throw them off.

Though Smith eventually got over the habit, he still remains embarrassed by it and is unable to watch early episodes of the series for that reason. He mentioned the problem years earlier in a 2017 interview with Graham Norton as well (via Entertainment Tonight). "It was my very first role, and I was very, very focused on being successful, so I learned the whole script and everyone else's lines," Smith recalled. "If you watch the first four or five episodes, you can see I'm mouthing other people's lines. It's terrible, and I can't bear to watch it."

While Smith is a producer on the dramatic reboot "Bel-Air," he hasn't stepped in front of the camera yet for the series. After decades of making memorable movies and even scoring an Oscar for "King Richard," it's unlikely that Smith would fall back into those rookie habits again.