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March 24, 2023

Jabari Banks to star in his first movie, 'Bad Genius,' a remake of a 2017 Thai film

The 'Bel-Air' actor has had an eventful week. On Tuesday, he sang Usher's 'Yeah!' in the style of Ariana Grande while on Jimmy Fallon's 'That's My Jam'

Jabari Banks will have a starring role in "Bad Genius," the English-language remake of a 2017 Thai film that set box office records in Thailand. It will mark the "Bel-Air" actor's first movie appearance.

The adaptation's synopsis describes it as a "high-stakes, high-octane thriller about a diverse group of young people who team up to fight the system of injustice and inequity and take down the rigged academic institutions around them," according to The Hollywood Reporter

Banks, a University of the Arts alum, will star alongside Callina Liang, who has appeared in the TV show "Tell Me Everything," and Benedict Wong, who is best known for his role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

"Bad Genius," based on a true story, follows Lynn, a straight-A student who spearheads a cheating scheme after she discovers that other students are receiving the questions in advance during private tutoring sessions. Eventually, Lynn heads to Australia in an effort to help students cheat on an international test used for university admissions. 

The original movie, known in Thailand as "Chalard Games Goeing," shot to the top of the Thai box office after its release. It became the highest-grossing Thai film of 2017, bringing in $44.5 million worldwide.

"I am so excited to share a new take on what was already a wildly successful and remarkable film," director J.C. Lee told Deadline. "I can't wait to work with this fantastic, innovative group of artists, drawing on our diverse array of real-world experience to make a film as thrilling and fun as the original." 

Lee, who wrote and produced the movie "Luce," also has worked on the TV shows "Looking," "How To Get Away With Murder" and "The Morning Show." Production is expected to begin in May. 

Banks, 24, has garnered critical acclaim for stepping into a role as the young Fresh Prince on "Bel-Air," a re-imagination of the 1990s sitcom "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," which starred Will Smith. The show became Peacock's most-streamed original series. 

The series was renewed for a third season last week. New episodes air on Thursdays through April 27. 

Earlier this week, Banks was joined by Chance the Rapper, Quavo and French Montana on Jimmy Fallon's "That's My Jam," a game show that pits celebrity guests in head-to-head musical and dance competitions. 

The "Bel-Air" actor's performance of Usher's 2004 hit "Yeah!" in the style of Ariana Grande's "no tears left to cry" has been viewed more than 4.6 million times on TikTok, 254,000 times on YouTube and 1.2 million times on Instagram. 

Outside of "Bel-Air," Banks has appeared in a handful of shows as himself, including "The Mandela Project" and "Wild 'N Out."

The original "Bad Genius" is available to stream on Netflix. The trailer can be seen below.