On the heels of Pixar’s Lava, Disney’s Moana, an upcoming animated feature about the Pacific Islands, will feature the voice of 14-year-old Auli’i Cravalho in the lead role. The Native Hawaiian high school sophomore will be joined by Dwane “The Rock” Johnson, who is also Pacific Islander (mixed-race Samoan). I’m glad that Disney cast two Pacific Islanders in the lead roles (Johnson plays the demigod Maui) in this film which is set three thousand years ago in the South Pacific.
Cravalho caught the attention of the film’s Hawaii casting director during tryouts for a charity talent show. Disney then flew her to Burbank for an audition. “I didn’t think I would have a chance,” Cravalho said. “When I was little, I used to dance around the house singing at the top of my lungs. In my mind, that was performing and I loved the feeling of it. But I never imagined being in a Disney movie, being Moana—representing my culture in that way.”
In the storyline, Moana is a spirited 16-year-old island girl who meets Maui and sets sail out on a mission to prove herself a master wayfinder and find out why Polynesian sailors mysteriously stopped voyaging. From the looks of it, Moana will be strong Disney princess in an excellent girl vs. world quest to fulfill her ancestors’ unfinished work.
Here’s Dwayne Johnson at D23. Just because.
Moana is directed by the filmmaking team of Ron Clements and John Musker (The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, The Princess & the Frog), and produced by Osnat Shurer (Lifted, One Man Band),
Watch Auli’i Cravalho find out she’s been cast at Moana
Look for Moana will open in theaters next Thanksgiving, November 23, 2016.