by Germain Lussier
Not to be confused with Oscar-winner The Descendants, Disney’s Descendants is the latest live-action Disney Channel movie that’s turning Disney tradition on its head. The film, directed by Kenny Ortega, is about the offspring of several imprisoned Disney villains. A new prince gives the children of Sleeping Beauty‘s Maleficent, Aladdin‘s Jafar, Snow White‘s Evil Queen and 101 Dalmatians’ Cruella de Vil a chance to choose a path different from their parents. It’ll air on Disney Channel in 2015.
Kristin Chenoweth was recently cast as Maleficent and now the other three supporting baddies have been cast. Comedian Maz Jobrani is Jafar, whose son Jay is played by X-Men: Days of Future Past co-star Booboo Stewart. Sister Act actress Kathy Najimy is the Evil Queen and her daughter Evie is a newcomer named Sofia Carson. Then Steve Harvey Show star Wendy Raquel Robinson is Cruella de Vil. Her son is named Carlos and he’s played by Disney Channel star Cameron Boyce.
Variety broke the news of these new additions to the Disney Descendants cast.
Here’s the original press release that details the story.
In a present day idyllic kingdom, the benevolent teenaged son of the King and Queen (Beast and Belle from Disney’s iconic Beauty and the Beast) is poised to take the throne. His first proclamation: offer a chance at redemption to the trouble-making offspring of Cruella De Vil, Maleficent, the Evil Queen and Jafar who have been imprisoned on a forbidden island with all the other villains, sidekicks, evil step-mothers and step-sisters. These villainous descendants (Carlos, Mal, Evvie and Jay, respectively) are allowed into the kingdom to attend prep school alongside the offspring of iconic Disney heroes including Fairy Godmother, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel and Mulan. However, the evil teens face a dilemma. Should they follow in their nefarious parents’ footsteps and help all the villains regain power or embrace their innate goodness and save the kingdom?
Kenny Ortega, the Emmy Award-winning director and choreographer of Disney’s record-settingHigh School Musical TV movies and feature film, returns to Disney Channel to direct Descendants.
The script was written by Josann McGibbon and Sara Parriott (creators and Emmy Award and WGA Award nominees for their writing on The Starter Wife, also writers of Runaway Bride and onDesperate Housewives). The production design will be by Mark Hofeling (Teen Beach Movie, High School Musical). The wardrobe design will be by Kara Saun (Project Runway, America’s Best Dance Crew).
Casting is underway for Disney’s Descendants, a contemporary live-action adventure-comedy that taps into Disney’s heritage characters—notably its most evil villains–to introduce their progeny, a modern day generation of teenagers who ultimately question the evil that’s always been in their hearts. Disney’s Descendants is scheduled to begin production next spring for a 2015 premiere on Disney Channel. The casting directors are Natalie Hart and Jason La Padura, C.S.A. (High School Musical TV movies and film, Camp Rock).
Gary Marsh, president and chief creative officer, Disney Channels Worldwide, said, “We mined Disney’s treasure trove of stories and developed a new, comedic approach to the fabled characters everyone knows and loves. The result is a modern and unexpected re-interpretation of classic heritage characters utilizing contemporary, relatable settings and themes.”