Cast members of the new Disney Channel series “The Villains of Valley View” are finding out just how much fun it can be to be bad. They are also discovering how much hard work it takes to make people laugh. Their efforts can be seen as the series – available on the streaming service of Disney+ starting June 22 – looks at what happens when a family of super villains try to adapt to living a normal life.
The group goes into hiding after teenage supervillain Havoc (Isabella Pappas) stands up to the head of the League of Villains. Her family is forced to change their identities and relocate to a sleepy Texas suburb.
With the help of their very energetic neighbor Hartley (Kayden Muller-Janssen), Havoc – who goes incognito as Amy – and her family must find a way to hide their superpowers and blend into the normal world.
“The Villains of Valley View” is a major acting shift for Pappas who was born in Italy and has generally worked on stage in London. Because she is based in London, Pappas had never been part of an American production until this series came along.
“I was auditioning for a movie for Disney that really wasn’t a comedy,” Pappas says. “It got down to the final two and I didn’t get it and I was really sad.”
She lost that role but Disney executives told her that they wanted her to be “part of the family.” She thought those executives were just saying that to be nice until the offer to be part of “Villains” came along.
The fact “Villains” is her first American project is not the only major change for Pappas. Most of the work in her young career has had her tackling drama. “Villains” is the first opportunity she has had to make people laugh.
“Something that really drew me to the script was that it is not a kids’ show,” Pappas says. “It is a family sitcom. I grew up watching ‘That ‘70s show’ and wanting to be a part of something like that because they looked like they had such a family.
“Doing a show like this, because there are so many episodes and it is almost like a 9 to 5 job, it almost feels like a family. I think that is something everybody in this industry searches for.”
The first lesson Pappas learned was that making people laugh is not as easy as it looks. She has found herself questioning whether or not she is funny with each filmed scene.
Although “The Villains of Valley View” is the first comedy and American production for Pappas, she has worked on television in such series as “Paranoid” and “Finding Alice.” Pappas comes to the Disney series with some experience in front of the camera. On the other hand, this is the very first series for Kayden as she has been more involved with the music world. Her single “Walk” was the Music Choice National Kid’s Song of the Week award with more than one million listeners.
Kayden jokes that she doesn’t think that she is doing a good job dealing with the overwhelming joy and nervousness that has come with her first big acting job.
“Even now that the release is actually happening, it has almost been like a dream,” Kayden says. “Growing up, I watched shows like this with ‘Wizards of Waverly Place’ and ‘Lab Rats’ and ‘Hannah Montana.’
“I wanted to be like them on TV. Now that I am actually doing that, it is insane.”
Being part of the ensemble cast for the superhero/family comedy has given Kayden the opportunity to work on both her comedy skills and having to deal with a show that features a lot of special effects. Kayden credits the family bond the cast has found with helping her deal with all of the different demands of making the series work.
She says the bond was something the entire cast found as soon as all of the members of the villainous family were selected.
The ensemble cast of “Valley View” also includes: Lucy Davis as Eva/Surge; James Patrick Stuart as Vic/Kraniac; Malachi Barton as Colby/Flashform; and Reed Horstmann as Jake/Chaos.
“The Villains of Valley View” launched on the Disney Channel on June 3 along with another superhero family comedy, “Ultra Violet & Black Scorpion.” In “Ultra Violet,” Violet Rodriguez (Scarlett Estevez) is living the life of an average Mexican American teen until she is chosen by a magical luchador mask to transform into Ultra Violet. She turns to her luchador uncle, Cruz (J.R. Villarreal), who fights crime Black Scorpion, for training.
Episodes of “Ultra Violet” are now also available on Disney+ along with “The Villains of Valley View” episodes.