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Kristin Chenoweth cast as Maleficent in Disney villain project 'Descendants'

After the success of Disney films over the past several decades, the stories of the Disney villains are becoming more popular. Now those stories are also coming to television and being adapted for future generations while appealing to fans of the original characters. On May 1 Variety posted the news that actress Kristin Chenoweth has been cast as the villain Maleficent in "Descendants," a Disney Channel television movie about the lives of the children of famous Disney villains.

Kristin Chenoweth
Photo by Laura Cavanaugh/Getty Images

The series was first announced last year and will begin production in the coming months for a 2015 release. The story is set in a modern day kingdom with the son of Belle and the Beast about to become the king. He decides to show mercy to a group of imprisoned youngsters, who all happen to be the children of villains like Maleficent, Cruella de Vil, Jafar and the Evil Queen.

Chenoweth with play Maleficent, who doesn't get along with her daughter Mal who is played by "Liz and Maddie" actress Dove Cameron. Kenny Ortega, who helmed the popular "High School Musical" franchise will also direct this new project with a script from Josann McGibbon and Sarah Parriott. The new film comes just weeks before the feature film "Maleficent" arrives in theaters, with actress Angelina Jolie playing the eccentric villain.

On May 1 The Hollywood Reporter provided more details about the project, which will focus on the youngsters growing up in the shadow of their famous parents. Cruella's son Carlos, the Evil Queen's daughter Evvie, Mal and Jafar's son Jay have been isolated on a mysterious island with other sidekicks, villains and outcast characters from popular stories. No other casting announcements for the villains have been revealed.

Chenoweth is a Broadway veteran who made a name for herself on television thanks to a guest starring role on "Glee," playing the character of April. She also appeared on the CBS drama "The Good Wife" and has other projects in the works. Production on the new project will begin later this month and is expected to last through the summer months.

Actors Booboo Stewart, Sofia Carson, Cameron Boyce and Mitchell Hope are also in talks to appear in the project as the other offspring of the villains. The character of Maleficent was first introduced in the animated adventure "Sleeping Beauty," where she casts a spell on Princess Aurora to send her into an eternal sleep which can only be broken by true love's kiss. The upcoming feature film is expected to tell the story from Maleficent's point of view and the new project could further alter the character's story for the future.