Catherine Laga‘aia to play Moana in live-action film

L-R: Laga‘aia, Cravalho – Disney

The wait is over for fans of Disney’s Moana: It has been revealed that 17-year-old Catherine Laga’aia will play the Polynesian princess in the live-action reimagining of the 2016 animated classic, due in theaters July 10, 2026.

“I’m really excited to embrace this character because Moana is one of my favorites,” said the Sydney, Australia, native. “I’m honored to have an opportunity to celebrate Samoa and all Pacific Island peoples, and to represent young girls who look like me.”

Disney also announced that joining Laga’aia and her previously announced co-star, Dwayne Johnson, will be New Zealander John Tui as Moana’s no-nonsense father, Chief Tui; Samoan-New Zealand actress Frankie Adams portraying Moana’s playful and strong-willed mother, Sina; and New Zealander Rena Owen as the revered Gramma Tala.

One of the executive producers of the film is Auliʻi Cravalho, who voiced Moana in the original film, on the small screen and in this summer’s animated feature Moana 2.

She told ABC Audio, “I feel really grateful to have played Moana and to continue to play her, as well. And it makes me really happy that she continues to live on in these different iterations. She’s honestly kind of getting her own ‘Moana universe,’ which makes me happy.”

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She adds, “I know how much it meant to me to have this film and how important that representation was to see on screen in an animated sense. So I’m really grateful to pass that baton to the next person … in the live action-film.” 

Disney is the parent company of ABC News.

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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