Disney Casts Live-Action Moana After Auliʻi Cravalho Steps Down From Role

13 June 2024, 17:36

Disney Casts Live-Action Moana After Auliʻi Cravalho Steps Down From Role
Disney Casts Live-Action Moana After Auliʻi Cravalho Steps Down From Role. Picture: Disney, Steve Granitz/FilmMagic
Sam  Prance

By Sam Prance

Catherine Laga‘aia will take on the role first played by Auliʻi Cravalho in the animated film.

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Moana, make way, make way! Disney has officially cast newcomer Catherine Laga‘aia as Moana in the upcoming live-action Moana remake.

Ever since Disney first announced that they would be making a live-action Moana film, fans have been desperate to find out who will be taking on the titular role. In the original animated movie, Moana is played by Auliʻi Cravalho. However, based on Moana's age, Auliʻi would now be too old for the role. Instead, she will work as a producer on the highly-anticipated film.

Now, Disney has revealed who will be taking on the beloved role and it's someone they have found specifically for the part.

Who will play live-action Moana?

Watch the first trailer for Moana 2

Following an extensive search and audition process, Disney have confirmed that 17-year-old Catherine Laga‘aia will appear as Moana. As it stands, Catherine has only appeared as the younger version of Candy in three episodes of the Australian drama The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart. Moana will be Catherine's first time playing a lead role in a project.

In an official statement, Catherine said: "I'm really excited to embrace this character because Moana is one of my favourite. My grandfather comes from Fa'a'ala, Palauli, in Savai‘i. My grandmother is from Leulumoega Tuai on the main island of Upolu in Samoa."

She added: "I’m honoured to have an opportunity to celebrate Samoa and all Pacific Island peoples and to represent young girls who look like me."

In May last year, Auliʻi Cravalho posted a video explaining why she won't play the live-action Moana. Auli'i said: "When I was cast as Moana at 14, it wonderfully changed my life and started my career. In this live-action retelling, I will not be reprising the role. I believe it is absolutely vital the casting accurately represents the characters and stories we want to tell."

Auli'li then added: "I'm truly honoured to pass this baton to the next young woman of Pacific Island descent, to honour our incredible Pacific peoples cultures and communities that help inspire her story. I look forward to all the beautiful Pacific representations to come. Mahalo."

16-year-old Moana is from the fictional island of Motunui, which is based on the real heritage and culture of multiple Polynesian islands including Hawaii, Samoa and Tonga (to name a few).

Auliʻi Cravalho Explains Why She Won't Play Live Action Moana

Catherine will star opposite Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, who is set to reprise the role of Maui, in the film.

Disney's live action Moana is currently scheduled to come out in 2026.

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