Meet The New Carlton Banks
Bel-Air’ Carlton actor Olly Sholotan says the ‘haters’ of his character will eventually love him
The “Bel-Air” Carlton Banks actor is convinced that “haters” of his character will eventually love him. After seeing his journey in later episodes in the season.
The new Peacock series turns the 90s sitcom “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” into a modern drama. About fictional Will Smith’s (Jabari Banks) journey from rags to riches. Olly Sholotan plays Smith’s cousin Carlton. A character that has riled up fans of both the new show and the original.
In the original series, Carlton (Alfonso Ribeiro) was a corny, lovable nerd. The new series paints the character as a villain, clashing with his cousin on multiple occasions in the first episode alone. In one moment, Carlton even defends white students rapping the N-word in songs.
In an interview about his version of the character, Sholotan said that the hatred for his character doesn’t bother him at all.
“I think apathy is the enemy of excellence,” he said. “And so in all honesty, it would’ve been worse if I think people were like, ‘yeah, this new Carlton, he’s fine.’ I think nothing’s worse than fine. Nothing’s worse than average.”
Sholotan also said he was “proud” that fans were having a deeply emotional reaction to his character.
“That’s what I think is so beautiful about this version of Carlton,” the Carlton actor said. “It’s that you really get to peel back the layers of what these things do to the psyche of a 16-year-old kid. If you tell someone for as long as they’ve been socialized that, ‘Hey! Even though you identify as Black, you don’t really act Black. You don’t deserve to be Black.’ How does that affect the psyche and what does that do?”
He added: “I think that the show starts at a rough point in Carlton’s life and I am excited for viewers to see his journey.”
For Sholotan, Carlton redeems himself in later episodes. The audience gets a glimpse into the character’s personal struggle and battle with anxiety. But he says he’ll leave the audience to decide their thoughts.
He said: “The only thing I gotta say is y’all haters will be lovers.”
On Twitter, Sholotan has been responding to some of the memes and comments about his character.
Carlton has even been compared to another hated TV character, Tariq St.Patrick from Starz’s drama “Power.” In 2020, Michael Rainey Jr., who plays Tariq, told Insider a fan accosted him because of his character’s actions in the show.
Sholotan told Insider that the memes are “hilarious” but the comparison to Tariq was a “little unfair.”
The 23-year-old actor said, “I don’t think Carlton’s irredeemably evil, but I think that people need to experience that feeling right now. And then if that changes, that changes.”
New episodes of “Bel-Air” are out on Thursdays on Peacock TV.