Disney's Announces Live-Action Moana Cast

Catherine Laga'aia is starring as the live-action Moana alongside Dwayne Johnson's Maui.

The live-action Moana movie took a big step forward on Wednesday, as Disney officially announced who will be playing the titular hero in the upcoming adaptation. The original animated Moana (as well as its upcoming sequel) feature the voice of Auli'i Cravalho as the lead character, but she won't be reprising the role for the live-action film. That torch was passed to 17-year-old Sydney, Australia native Catherine Laga'aia.

"I'm really excited to embrace this character because Moana is one of my favorites," said Laga'aia. "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 Laga'aia stars as Moana in Disney's new live-action film.

- Disney)

In addition to Laga'aia, Disney also announced the actors who would be portraying Moana's family in the new film. Chief Tui, Moana's father and the leader of Motunui, is being played by John Tui. Moana's mother, Sina, is being played by Frankie Adams, while Gramma Tala is set to be played by Rena Owen.

As we already knew, Dwayne Johnson will be reprising his role as Maui, in addition to serving as a producer on the film. Johnson is producing alongside Dany Garcia, Hiram Garcia, Beau Flynn, and Lin-Manuel Miranda. Cravalho will executive produce with Scott Sheldon and Charles Newirth.

The live-action Moana is being directed by Hamilton's Thomas Kail. Original Moana writer Jared Bush wrote the new screenplay alongside Dana Ledoux Miller.

"I am thrilled to have met Catherine, Rena, Frankie and John through this casting process," said Kail. "I am humbled by this opportunity, and I cannot wait to all be on set together. And there's no better pair to be in a canoe with than Catherine and Dwayne-actually, trio: Heihei is ready, too."

Moana was originally set to arrive in theaters in 2025, but Disney pushed the film back to 2026. According to Wednesday's press release, the live-action Moana is going into production this summer.

This is just one of two Moana films arriving in theaters in the near future. The animated Moana 2, which was initially envisioned as a streaming series for the Disney+ service, sails onto big screens around the world this Thanksgiving.