EXCLUSIVE: Meet the offspring of Cruella De Vil, Maleficent, the Evil Queen and Jafar. Disney Channel has ordered to production Descendants, its first live-action original movie tapping into Disney’s vault of classic fairytale characters. Directed by High School Musical helmer and choreographer Kenny Ortega in his return to Disney Channel, the contemporary adventure-comedy revolves around the progeny of some of Disney’s most evil villains, introducing a modern generation of teenagers who question the evil that’s always been in their hearts. Casting is underway, overseen by High School Musical casting directors Natalie Hart and Jason La Padura, with production slated to begin in the spring for a 2015 premiere on Disney Channel. “We mined Disney’s treasure trove of stories and developed a new, comedic approach to the fabled characters everyone knows and loves,” said Gary Marsh, President and Chief Creative Officer of Disney Channels Worldwide. “The result is a modern and unexpected re-interpretation of classic heritage characters utilizing contemporary, relatable settings and themes.”
Written by Josann McGibbon and Sara Parriott (The Starter Wife, Runaway Bride), Descendants is set in a present-day idyllic kingdom, where the benevolent teenaged son of the King and Queen (Beast and Belle from Disney’s 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? The production design for the movie will be done by another High School Musical alum, Mark Hofeling. The wardrobe design will be by Kara Saun (Project Runway). Disney Channel’s original movie franchise has produced five of the Top 6 movies in cable TV history, led by the blockbuster High School Musical pics.