Angelina Jolie’s Maleficent has proven a box-office hit this summer. But it won’t be long before there’s a new Maleficent in town — star of stage and screen Kristin Chenoweth, who plays the horned Sleeping Beauty villain in the upcoming Disney Channel movie Descendants; which focuses on the offspring of classic Disney animated movie villains. I caught up with Chenoweth at this week’s Saturn Awards Ceremony in Burbank — where she presented the Dan Curtis Legacy Award to her Pushing Daisies producer Bryan Fuller — and the gorgeous multi-hyphenate told me how her take on the evil fairy will differ from that of Jolie.
“I didn’t see Angelina Jolie’s until after I got done shooting,” said Chenoweth, “and I thought she was unbelievable. Our stories are very different. This is the kids of the villains, and I’m the lead villain, and then there’s Snow White‘s Evil Queen and [Aladdin‘s] Jafar. I love the angle that they’re taking. It’s a little bit more of a comedy. I’ll have a lighter Maleficent.”
Chenoweth — who is, ironically, best known for playing the ultimate good girl in fairy tales, The Wizard of Oz‘s Glinda in the Broadway musical Wicked — added that her role was cathartic. For, as a little girl, she found Maleficent to be the most frightening of the Disney villains.
“She was the villain that scared me the most. She was just so evil, and when I got cast, I was like, ‘How’d that happen?! I rectified myself, I think.’
Chenoweth’s fans will be happy to hear that she will in fact be putting her famous pipes to good use in the film: “It’s a different take and I love it, and I get to sing. So it’s fun.”
Below is an exclusive image of Chenoweth in character from Entertainment Weekly, which offers more details about the Kenny Ortega-directed project.