Update (May 19, 2023): Auli’i Cravalho will not be reprising her role as Moana in the live-action version of the 2016 animated Disney film, which was announced last month. Cravalho posted a video on social media Friday (May 19) with the official news. “When I was cast as Moana at 14, it wonderfully changed my life and started my career,” Cravalho said. “In this live-action retelling, I will not be reprising the role.” The actress added that as an executive producer on the film, she looks forward to “help find the next actress to portray Moana’s courageous spirit, undeniable wit, and emotional strength.” She continued: “I’m truly honored to pass this baton to the next young woman of Pacific Island descent.”
As Disney continues navigating its catalog to find the next animated film to adapt into a live-action movie, it’s becoming more and more evident each year that no title will go untouched.
This year, Disney fans will get another live-action version of Peter Pan (Peter Pan & Wendy) and The Little Mermaid, followed by Snow White in 2024. While it’s still far down the schedule, it was recently announced that Disney’s 2016 Oscar-nominated animated feature Moana will also get its own live-action reimagining.
The announcement was made by actor and former WWE superstar Dwayne Johnson in a pre-recorded message for Disney’s annual shareholder meeting. Johnson lent his voice to the character Maui in the original movie and is expected to reprise the role in the new movie, although it has not been confirmed.
“When I bring Maui to life, I’m doing it in the spirit of my grandfather,” Johnson said in the message, which could be interpreted a few different ways. Johnson and ex-wife Dany Garcia and his ex-brother-in-law Hiram Garcia will produce the film under their Seven Bucks Productions company.
According to Deadline, Auli’i Cravalho (The Power), the original voice actor for the title character, Moana, will serve as an executive producer. Cravalho is part Puerto Rican.
Although no official announcement has been made about the cast, the internet seems to believe Cravalho is reprising her role as Moana. In the animated movie, Moana is 16 years old. Cravalho was 14 years old when she was cast in the role. Now 22, could she return for a film that is likely a few years away from hitting the big screen?
“[Moana] has had such a profound impact on how we think of Disney princesses,” Auli’i Cravalho said in a statement on Instagram. “Moana’s strength and perseverance are inspiring – to audiences around the world, to me and to everyone who helped bring her to life. I’m looking forward to sharing her story in a whole new way.”