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Disney's live-action 'Moana' casts Catherine Laga'aia in lead role

By AYIE LICSI Published Jun 13, 2024 1:03 pm

Disney has found the star of its live-action Moana

Newcomer Catherine Laga'aia, a 17-year-old from Sydney, Australia, is set to play the titular character in the movie. She'll star alongside Dwayne Johnson, who'll be reprising his role as the shapeshifting demigod Maui.

"I'm really excited to embrace this character because Moana is one of my favorites," Catherine 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.”

Catherine will be taking over the role of Auli'i Cravalho, who originally voiced the Moana in the 2016 animated picture. The now 23-year-old will still be a part of the project as an executive producer.

"In this live-action retelling, I will not be reprising the role. I believe it is absolutely vital that the casting accurately represents the characters and stories we want to tell, so as an executive producer on the film, I cannot wait to help find the next actress to portray Moana's courageous spirit, undeniable wit, and emotional strength," Auli'i said in May 2023.

In addition to Catherine, the upcoming live-action Moana will star Rena Owen as Grandma Tala, John Tui as Chief Tui, and Frankie Adams as Sina.

The future film is helmed by Hamilton director Thomas Khail.

Aside from this, Disney is also set to release Moana 2, a sequel to the first film, which stars Auli'i, Dwayne Johnson, Temuera Morrison, Nicole Scherzinger, and Alan Tudyk. It's slated for a November 2024 release.