Disney Casts Catherine Laga’aia as New Moana for Live-Action Remake

Live-action 'Moana' casts a new lead as the production heads towards July 2026 release.

In an exciting update for Disney fans, Catherine Laga’aia has been cast as the lead in Disney’s highly anticipated live-action remake of Moana. The 17-year-old Australian actress will pick up the role of Auli’i Cravalho, who originally voiced Moana. Additionally, Cravalho will be mentoring the lead actress and is involved in the project as an executive producer.

As per The Hollywood Reporter, Laga’aia also enters her family business as her father Jay Laga’aia is an actor and a singer, who portrayed the role of Captain Typho in ‘Star Wars’ prequel movies. Dwayne Johnson, who voiced the character of demigod Maui in the original film, is set to reprise his role in the live-action adaptation.

On working with Disney Laga’aia comments, “I’m really excited to embrace this character because Moana is one of my favourites.” The actress adds, “My grandfather comes from Fa‘aala, Palauli, in Savai‘i.” As her grandmother is from Leulumoega Tuai on the main island of ‘Upolu in Samoa,the actress is “honoured to have an opportunity to celebrate Samoa and all Pacific Island peoples, and to represent young girls who look like me.” The live-action “Moana” will be directed by Thomas Kail, who is known for Hamilton (2020 biographical musical drama), and he recently directed We Were the Lucky Ones, a Hulu series.

Kail said that he is “thrilled to have met Catherine, Rena, Frankie and John” during the casting process.He added, “I am humbled by this opportunity, and I cannot wait to all be on set together.” And, the director also mentioned, “There’s no better pair to be in a canoe with than Catherine and Dwayne—actually, a trio: Heihei is ready, too.”

The other cast of the Disney film includes John Tui (Auckland, New Zealander actor) as Moana’s father, ‘Chief Tui;’ Frankie Adams (Samoan-New Zealander actress) playing Moana’s mother ‘Sina,’ and Rena Owen (from New Zealand) portraying‘Gramma Tala.’

Moana (2016) was one of the top streaming films for several years in the U.S. Set to be released in 2026, Dwayne Johnson, Dany Garcia and Hiram Garcia will produce the film under Seven Bucks Productions. Additionally, Beau Flynn will also be producing the Disney film through FlynnPictureCo.

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