Two years ago, during the HBO Max reunion of “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air,” he recalls a moving moment with Avery. The actor was best known as Uncle Phil on the 90s NBC sitcom when they shot a season four episode of the show that revolved around Will’s dad coming back into his life.
“I flubbed my line on the take and I messed it up in front of the audience, and my mind snapped and I’m like, ‘Ahhhh! Dammit!’ James says, ‘Hey! Right here!’” Smith said while pointing to his eyes the way Avery did to him. “And I was like (motions paying attention).
He was like, ‘Use me!’ And he says, ‘Get yourself together,’ and I get it together and I’m looking and he says, ‘Action.”
“And with the scene that we do, is the scene that ends being in the episode,” Smith said. “And I fall into his arms at the end of scene and he’s holding me and he’s holding me. And the shot pans off. He whispered into my ear and he said, ‘Now that’s acting,’” Smith said, while “Fresh Prince” co-star Tatyana Ali fought back tears.”
Speaking of Avery, Smith was a recent guest on the All The Smoke Podcast.
“James Avery was one of the best things that ever happened to me regarding acting. Yeah, James Avery, he was like nothing was good enough,” said Smith.
“He was like, nope, you have too much talent for that. Nope more nope, and it was like I’m doing movies, and I’m trying to, and it was like he made sure that I understood my responsibility to hone my craft.”