Disney Announces Its Moana For Live-Action Film

Disney has found its title character for its upcoming live-action remake of Moana. Previously, the only cast member that was known was Dwayne Johnson who would be returning as Maui. Today Disney announced several other cast members for the film, including Moana! Catherine Laga‘aia will be taking on the role of Moana to life. Laga‘aia is a 17-year old from Sydney, Australia.

“I’m really excited to embrace this character because Moana is one of my favorites,” said Laga‘aia. “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.”

Moana isn’t the only casting choice that was announced today. Chief Tui, Moana’s no-nonsense father will be played by Auckland, New Zealander John Tui. Samoan-New Zealand actress Frankie Adams portrays Moana’s playful and strong-willed mother, Sina. Gramma Tala will be played by Rena Owen, who comes from Bay of Islands, NZ. As was previously announced, Dwayne Johnson will again be returning to bring the larger-than-life demigod Maui to the screen. He also lent his voice to this role in the 2016 animated feature.

The live-action version of Moana will be arriving in theaters on July 10, 2026. It is being directed by Thomas Kail. Kail directed Hamilton on Broadway and DIsney+. He also directed Grease Live and the first and last episodes of We Were the Lucky Ones on Hulu.

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

Moana is set to begin filming this summer. It promises to bring this story and character to life in a whole new way as Moana sets off on a journey to pave her own path. Disney says that this film will celebrate the islands, communities, and traditions of Pacific Islanders during this spectacular adventure.

This film is produced by Johnson, Dany Garcia and Hiram Garcia via their Seven Bucks Productions and Beau Flynn via FlynnPictureCo. Lin-Manuel Miranda, who wrote the original songs, will also serve as producer. Executive producers include Scott Sheldon of FlynnPictureCo., Auli‘i Cravalho, who voiced Moana in the 2016 film, and Charles Newirth.

Jared Bush, who wrote the screenplay for 2016’s Moana has been tapped for the project, along with Dana Ledoux Miller. Miller is a Samoan writer who created Netflix’s Thai Cave Rescue and also co-founded the non-profit Pasifika Entertainment Advancement Komiti (PEAK).

What do you think of the casting news for Moana from Disney today? Are you excited about this movie? Share your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!