Cornelia Tzana ‘17 / Emertainment Monthly Comic Books Editor
Disney finally released a first look at its new princess, Moana, and the young actress that will give her voice, to the excitement of many fans.
Moana follows the story of a daring young girl from the Pacific Islands. In search of an island of legends and with the help of the legendary demi-god Maui (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson), Moana Waialiki sets out on an adventure unlike any other. During her journey she will strive to fulfill her ancestors’ quest and find herself.
Moana will be the first Polynesian princess in Disney history, which has made her movie even more highly anticipated. Auli’i Cravalho, the 14-year-old actress from Oahu, Hawaii, was thrilled to find out she got the part of Moana, which she didn’t audition for, fearing she was not good enough. “I was getting through my freshman year, and there were already so many great submissions over YouTube,” she stated in an interview with People Magazine. Cravalho was discovered during a charity event by an Oahu casting agent who was impressed by her vocal talents. Not long after that, she was in Los Angeles, auditioning for the role of the brave heroine.
“Moana is such an amazing character. She’s brave, she is so empowered, she knows what she wants and she’s not afraid to get it, and I think that’s something that I can relate to as well. I just love watching how she goes along in this wonderful movie and grows as a person and helps her culture along the way,” said Cravalho.
The young actress will be acting alongside Dwayne Johnson, who was equally excited to be part of the project. “To tell a story inspired by the South Pacific is truly a great honor,” said the half-black and half-Samoan actor during Disney’s D23 Expo. Johnson welcomed his co-star on Instagram, adding, “An awesome lesson to all young kids out there… work hard, have confidence in yourselves and never think you’re not good enough because you never know what the future holds.”
Besides taking a big step towards making the Disney princess franchise more diverse and inclusive, Moana will set another milestone by being the first CG-animated film for Ron Clements and John Musker, the team behind Disney favorites like The Little Mermaid, Aladdin and The Princess and the Frog.
Moana, originally expected in 2018, will be released on November 23, 2016.
Watch The Casting: