Kristin Chenoweth Cast as Maleficent in New Disney Channel Movie

Amid all the hype for its new live-action Maleficent movie, starring Angelina Jolie, Disney is sneaking another version of the villain into its stable. Yes, apparently Jolie and the petite, excitable Kristen Chenoweth share some mysterious quality that makes them both perfect for the role.

Chenoweth has been cast as the green-skinned Very Evil Fairy in Descendants, a Disney Channel original movie about the offspring of classic villains. The movie sounds like it will be the company's latest attempt to rehabilitate its villains and make them sympathetic, after Maleficent and Oz the Great and Powerful (which itself echoes Chenowith's hit musical Wicked). Here's how Disney's press release explained Descendants, which comes out next year:

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... 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?

The Mean Girls-meets-Once Upon a Time plot actually sounds like this could make for an entertaining TV movie if done with the proper amount of silliness. And surprising though Chenoweth is for the role of Maleficent—wouldn't the soprano be better served playing Tinkerbell?—her experience in musical theatre will certainly help her bring the camp Descendants looks like it needs.

Chenoweth won't be able to hold a candle to Jolie's weirdly enhanced cheekbones. But if Disney is going to go an ruin all its villains anyway, it might as well do it in as many formats as it can sell.

[Image via AP]