November 26, 2023

Disney is bringing “Moana” back to the big screen — and this time in live action with both Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and the voice of Moana, Auli‘i Cravalho, as producers.

“What can I say except … You’re welcome,” Johnson said Monday in an Instagram post.

“This story is my culture, and this story is emblematic of our people’s grace, mana and warrior strength,” Johnson said.

The 2016 Disney animated musical sees Polynesian princess Moana determined to save her village and people after the comedic and boisterous Polynesian demigod named Maui (voiced by Johnson) steals the magical artifact named the Heart of Te Fiti. With the tacit blessing of her wise Gramma Tala (Rachel House), Moana sails out accompanied by a crazy rooster named Heihei (Alan Tudyk) set to a soundtrack co-written by “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda.

The Rock said he will return as Maui in the Instagram video where he is walking the beaches of Oahu with his daughters Tia and Jasmine.

“I wear our culture proudly on my skin and in my soul, and this once in a lifetime opportunity to reunite with MAUI, inspired by the spirit of my late grandfather, High Chief Peter Maivia, is one that runs very deep for me.”

Disney Studios confirmed that similar to its animated predecessor, the film will celebrate the islands, communities and traditions of Pacific Islanders. As well, the focus will remain on Moana’s journey of self-discovery through her eagerness to pave her own path and her reflections on the lives of her ancestors.

The movie will include Gramma Tala, Pua the Pig, Te Fiti, Heihei the rooster and the animated film’s classic songs and dances.

While it’s unclear whether Cravalho will reprise her role as well, the actress said on Instagram that Moana “had such a profound impact on how we think of Disney princesses” and that she is “looking forward to sharing her story in a whole new way.”

With files from Peter Howell


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