LIFE & CULTURE

Sydney Teenager Will Play Moana In Disney’s Live Action Remake

Catherine Laga‘aia will star opposite Dwayne Johnson in the film.
Catherine Laga‘aia will star in the 'Moana' action remake.Disney

Disney has cast Australian actress Catherine Laga’aia in the lead role of the live-action Moana remake.

The 17-year-old newcomer will take on the titular role of Moana in the film, starring opposite Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson who will reprise his role as Maui, the character he voiced in the original animated film.

Disney announced the news on social media, where they shared a picture of Laga’aia alongside a caption reading “Introducing Catherine Laga’aia as the live-action Moana, joining Dwayne Johnson as Maui, John Tui as Chief Tui, Frankie Adams as Sina, and Rena Owen as Gramma Tala. The new reimagining starts production this Summer.”

Who Is Catherine Laga’aia?

While Laga’aia hails from Sydney, she shares the same Pacific Island connection and culture as the character she will play.

“I’m really excited to embrace this character because Moana is one of my favorites,” Laga’aia said in a statement. “My grandfather comes from Fa’aala, Palauli, in Savai’i. And my grandmother is from Leulumoega Tuai on the main island of ‘Upolu in Samoa. I’m honored to have an opportunity to celebrate Samoa and all Pacific Island peoples, and to represent young girls who look like me.”

Moana will be the actress’s first feature film, after playing the Young Candy in the television series The Lost Flowers Of Alice Hart.

Who Is Starring In Disney’s Live Action Moana?

Dwayne Johnson
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson will reprise his role as Maui. (Credit: Getty)

Along with Laga’aia and Johnson, the live action cast also includes John Tui as Moana’s father, Chief Tui, Frankie Adams as Moana’s mother Sina, and Rena Own as Moana’s grandmother, Gramma Tala.

In the animated film, Moana was played by Auli’i Cravalho, who has released a statement about passing the baton to Laga’aia.

“When I was cast as Moana at 14, it wonderfully changed my life and started my career,” she said. “In this live-action retelling, I will not be reprising the role. I believe it is absolutely vital that casting accurately represents the characters and stories we want to tell.”

“I am truly honored to pass this baton to the next young woman of Pacific Island descent to honor our incredible Pacific peoples, cultures, and communities that helped inspire her story,” she added. “And I look forward to all the beautiful Pacific representation to come. Mahalo.”

Cravalho will however be working as an executive producer on the film.

When Will The Live Action Moana Be Released?

While we don’t have a release date yet, we know that production will begin in the Northern Hemisphere’s summer.

With this in mind, we’re expecting the film to arrive sometime next year.

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