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Home > Catherine Laga’aia Cast As Disney’s Live Action ‘Moana’

Catherine Laga’aia Cast As Disney’s Live Action ‘Moana’

Make Way for Disney’s Newest Star

The world’s most well-known animation studio is embarking on another new live-action adventure with a Moana remake. Rich with ancient Polynesian history and culture, Moana (2016) has stolen the hearts of families worldwide. Now, Disney has announced their newest star to play the titular role. 

From Australia to Polynesia 

The original animated film follows Moana (voiced by Auli’i Cravalho) as she seeks out a demigod to help return the goddess Te Fiti’s heart. 

Disney Pictures has no urgency to stop the live-action remakes any time soon. Despite the recent trailer of Moana 2 still being fresh in Disney fanatics’ heads, the first film will be remade for its tenth anniversary on July 10, 2026. Though there have been many strong opinions on who should be cast, and Cravalho admitted she did not wish to reprise her role, the film company has decided to give an unknown actor the spotlight. Seventeen-year-old Australian actress Catherine Laga’aia has been cast as Moana.

Only seen briefly in Amazon Prime’s The Lost Flowers of Alice Heart, her work has not been witnessed by audiences in the ways that past main roles for Disney’s live-action films have been. In truth, little is known about her acting or singing ability yet. However, her excitement and enthusiasm for the role have led to high hopes for fans. In a recent press release, Laga’aia expressed, “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.”

New Horizons

Since the film is still recent to many audiences, the filmmakers have the chance to reuse the same actors. Though Cravalho is choosing to be an executive producer for the project, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson will be reprising his role as the demigod Maui. Disney has also released that three New Zealand actors will be crossing the horizon as well. John Tui (Born to Dance) will portray Chief Tui, Frankie Adams (The Expanse) will portray Sina, and Rena Own (Siren) will portray the wise Gramma Tala. It is not yet known who will play the antagonist Tamatoa who was originally voiced by Jemaine Clement.

Even though there are two years between now and the arrival of the live-action remake, Moana 2 will be releasing November 27, 2024, with the same cast and animation style as the original. Past Disney live-action remakes have expanded on their sources so there is no telling yet on if the remake will take any inspiration from this coming sequel. 

For now, Moana (2016) can be streamed on Disney Plus.

Moana (2016) Official Trailer Courtesy of Walt Disney Animation Studios

Source: Dead Talk Live

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With a bachelor's degree in Film and Media Studies from Arizona State University, Ashley has a passion for the history of filmmaking and how audiences share a relationship with publicized media. Her love for the horror genre as well as feminist themes runs deep.

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Sammie is an undergraduate student at Arcadia University where she is majoring in English and creative writing and minoring in media and communications. Sammie enjoys writing about her favorite movies and tv shows and hopes to have a career in the media industry.