"The Villains of Valley View" debuts on Friday. Photo courtesy of Disney Channel
NEW YORK, June 3 (UPI) -- The young stars of the new Disney Channel sitcom, The Villains of Valley View, said they loved flipping the script and exploring what might happen if a family of super-powered evildoers went into hiding in a quiet Texas suburb.
Debuting Friday, the show stars Isabella Pappas as Havoc, a teen troublemaker who prompts the fish-out-of-water scenario when she stands up to the head of the League of Villains and endangers her loved ones. Also trying to disguise their powers and pretend to be normal in their new hometown are her siblings Chaos (Reed Horstmann) and Flashform (Malachi Barton), and their parents Surge (Lucy Davis) and Kraniac (James Patrick Stuart).
"We've been seeing the stories of superheroes told for as long as I've been around, but to see the stories told from the perspective of villains is super-interesting," Horstmann told UPI in a recent Zoom interview.
"This show grapples with the idea of good and evil and where the lines are kind of blurred and how the Maddens are maybe not in one spot. They kind of move and their actions change over the course of the show to figure out where they stand. Do they want to be true villains or maybe are they drawn elsewhere?"
The actors think the show is something that will entertain viewers of all ages.
"The Maddens are super-relatable because they have to learn to work together and also be their unique selves," Barton said.
Horstmann added, "I think kids will absolutely watch the show with their parents because a huge part of the show is the family dynamic."
"As villains, maybe the family didn't really rely on each other that much. They acted selfishly because they were villains. But now that they are trying to live normal lives, they learn to trust each other more and the loyalty is strengthened and the love is strengthened, especially between the siblings."
The stars also enjoyed exploring characters forced to evolve to survive their circumstances.
"Jake, formerly known as Chaos, used to love living the life of a supervillain with super strength; that was the way he loved to be," noted Horstmann.
"Now, living in Valley View, in hiding, he's kind of taking on this mission to become a better person. Why that is, we don't know yet, but it's interesting to see him kind of set apart from the rest of his family."
Barton described his character, now called Coby, as a "super-adventurous kid."
"He loves to hang out with his family and have fun," the actor said. "He is your average teenage boy and while he is dealing with the average teenager stuff he is also dealing with the fact he is part of a supervillain family. He is learning to live life without his superpowers."
The costumes went a long way to helping the actors embody their characters.
"Those costumes are absolutely insane. The process of getting them? There were a ton of sketches and mockups that they had to do," said Barton.
"When I first got to see the sketch of my supervillain suit I kind of lost it! I was like: 'What the heck? This is really, really cool!' My first-ever fitting, when I got to try on the final pieces, I was like: 'Whoa! I am Flashform!'"
Horstmann agreed, explaining cast members "grew with" their suits through multiple fittings and design changes.
"You start with the base layer and you are like, 'OK, I can kind of see what this could become.' But then I remember on the day when we shot the pilot episode and we are in the lair and Chaos is lifting this giant train axle, I remember thinking to myself, 'I am Chaos!'" he said.
"There is this whole new confidence when you wear the whole thing. There is a different way you stand, a different way you walk. It all comes together in a way you are not ready for."
Villains of Valley View also sends a message that "normal" means different things to different people and it isn't necessarily an undesirable thing to be. This is best exemplified by Havoc's new friendship with human Hartley (Kayden Muller-Janssen).
"Hartley -- heart is in her name -- and Hartley really brings this family together. She is kind of the catalyst for this whole thing," Horstmann said.
"Just because she doesn't have powers, she is still powerful," he added. "Without her, the family wouldn't be put in the situations that they are put into where they grow closer together. While she may not be related to the Maddens, she still is part of the family in her own right. Honestly, I don't think the Maddens could do what they do without her."