Disney casts Australian teen for Moana

Walt Disney has announced that Catherine Laga’aia, a 17-year-old from Sydney, Australia, will play the lead role in the upcoming live-action adaptation of "Moana." Laga’aia will join Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who returns as Maui, the demigod.

Laga’aia, of Samoan descent, expressed her excitement: “Moana is one of my favorites. I’m honored to celebrate Samoa and all Pacific Island peoples, and to represent young girls who look like me.”

The cast also includes John Tui as Chief Tui, Frankie Adams as Sina, and Rena Owen as Gramma Tala. Directed by Thomas Kail, known for "Hamilton" and "Grease Live," the film is set to begin production this summer and is slated for release in July 2026.

Auli’i Cravalho, the original voice of Moana, will be an executive producer for this adaptation. Disney promises that this new version will bring fresh life to the beloved story while celebrating Pacific Islander culture.

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