Bel-Air’s Jimmy Akingbola, Jordan L. Jones, & Simone Joy Jones On Geoffrey, Jazz, And Lisa

Jimmy and Jordan, you both play particularly funny characters on the sitcom, but here they are more grounded in many ways. How did you make your own characters while nodding to the original version?

L. Jones: I like the way you say it. Literally, “nod” is the correct word because what we don’t want to do is do exactly what [the original] Geoffrey and Jazz did, and that has a lot to do with writing, too. Because it’s a TV series, you don’t have to really… subconsciously, I know everything about Jazz and everything, but in this he has more depth, so it’s hard let me say, “Okay, how? [the sitcom’s] Jazz do it in this situation? “I’ve never seen him in such a dramatic situation.

Joy Jones: That’s a great point.

L. Jones: This is a nod to [director, co-writer, and executive producer] Morgan [Cooper]and he turned this into a TV series and he had a bigger plot for characters you don’t really know their background. [It’s] It’s not that I don’t use [the original version of] Jazz, but I wasn’t in front of a scene when I thought about how Jazz would do this. That’s a lucky thing. It relieves the pressure and allows me to do what I do.

Akingbola: Yeah, and similarly for Jordan, Geoffrey was great in his original and season one, but Morgan and I talked about, “What does that look like in 2022?” Don’t let him be the butler. Let’s make him equal. Let’s do it together [him and Uncle Phil] best friends. He is my mentor, and there are beautiful moments when they sit back, drink together, and share memories of a day in their 20s and talk about Will. It’s those beautiful moments when there are Black men, close friendships, Black love, and sharing that Black excellence. These two men are at the top of their game.

I also spoke with Morgan about authenticity in terms of [how] Morgan wants him from East London. I was like, “Oh, funny you should say that because I’m from East London. You know me?” I used a lot of my experience growing up in the East [London] and know some people who have moved around but never forget who they are. As a black Englishman who moved to LA, Geoffrey and I understood Will’s journey. We know what it’s like, he’s from Philly and now he’s in this new atmosphere and this new environment. Because of this, Geoffrey certainly had experience of street life, but he also lived a certain life where he was in the mansions and he was in the corporate world. When you put that into one person, he’s very diverse and there’s a lot of places he can go, and he’s a shape-shifter. We’re going to continue the Geoffrey mystery because we’ve got two seasons, but there are so many beautiful behind-the-scenes stories that we’re going to go in and share with all of you.

New episodes of Bel-Air will be available Thursday on Peacock.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

https://www.looper.com/769308/bel-airs-jimmy-akingbola-jordan-l-jones-simone-joy-jones-on-geoffrey-jazz-and-lisa-exclusive-interview/ Bel-Air’s Jimmy Akingbola, Jordan L. Jones, & Simone Joy Jones On Geoffrey, Jazz, And Lisa

Jake Nichol

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