Kristin Chenoweth To Play Maleficent In Disney Channel's Descendants

Since learning that Liv and Maddie star Dove Cameron had signed on for one of the lead roles in Disney Channel's planned live-action original movie Descendants, we haven't heard much on the promising project. However, this week brings a major update in the form of the great Kristin Chenoweth, who will be playing the role of Maleficent -- mother to Cameron's character -- in the planned TV movie.

Deadline reports that Chenoweth has been tapped to play the Sleeping Beauty villain Maleficent in Descendants, Disney Channel's movie about the offspring of classic Disney heroes and villains, who are attending school together in the present day. Deadline notes that Chenoweth's character butts horns with her daughter Mal (Dove Cameron). Kristin Chenoweth in a villainous role is certainly intriguing, as she has more of a sweet princess demeanor about her.

Chenoweth made a name for herself on the stage, with a Tony Award win for her role as Sally Brown in you're a Good Man, Charlie Brown. She gained even more attention and praise for playing Glinda opposite Idina Menzel in the original Broadway cast of Wicked. On the small screen side, she showed off her adorableness as Olive Snook in Pushing Daisies and more recently has recurred in Fox's musical dramedy Glee. So she's no stranger to television or colorful, occasionally musical projects. Here she is singing "Raise Your Glass" in a recent episode of Glee:

We don't actually know if Descendants will require vocal talent from its cast, as Disney Channel hasn't actually described this movie as a musical, however with High School Musical's Kenny Ortega behind the project, it's very possible that singing abilities will come in handy and Kristin Chenoweth's casting could indicate that there will be music. As for what we do know about Descendants, the TV movie is set in the present date idyllic kingdom where the teen son of the King and Queen (Beast and Belle from Beauty and the Beast) decides to offer the offspring of the Kingdom's outcasts (Cruella De Vil, Maleficent, the Evil Queen and Jafar) the opportunity to enter the kingdom and attend the fancy prep school with the offspring of Disney's most iconic heroes (Fairy Godmother, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel and Mulan).

The "evil" teens are faced with deciding whether or not they want to follow in their parents dark footsteps and help the villains regain power or choose their own path and embrace their inner goodness by helping to save the kingdom.

Even those of us outside of the Disney Channel's targeted audience have reason to anticipate this movie, as it ties to classic Disney films many of us grew up watching and adoring. It's also worth noting that Maleficent is set to be featured in her own live-action film, which arrives in theaters later this month. We're working under the assumption that whatever's explored about the character in the feature film won't have any major impact in how Chenoweth's Maleficent will be presented in Descendants in terms of continuity. But who knows? We'll find out in 2015, which is when Descendants is expected to arrive.

Kelly West
Assistant Managing Editor

Kelly joined CinemaBlend as a freelance TV news writer in 2006 and went on to serve as the site’s TV Editor before moving over to other roles on the site. At present, she’s an Assistant Managing Editor who spends much of her time brainstorming and editing feature content on the site.