Moana Star Shares Disappointing Recast News for Live-Action Dwayne Johnson Movie

By Aeron Mer Eclarinal Posted:
Moana Dwayne Johnson Movie Auliʻi Cravalho

Disney's live-action Moana movie featuring Dwayne Johnson received a discouraging recast update.  

As part of the Walt Disney Company 2023 Shareholders Meeting, Johnson announced that a live-action "reimagining" of Moana is in the works.

Sean Bailey, president of Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production admitted that the project is in the early stages of development, saying that it's "thrilling" to "tell such a meaningful story on a live-action canvas." 

Moana Star Shares Casting Update 


Auliʻi Cravalho, who voiced Moana in the 2016 animated movie, confirmed on Instagram that she would not be reprising her role for the recently-announced live-action movie. 

Cravalho first reflected on being cast as Moana when she was 14 years old, noting that it "changed [her] life" before confirming that she will not return to star in the movie: 

"Aloha Mai Kakou. As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, [a] live-action Moana is in the works and you all have been waiting very patiently for updates. So, I’ve written a few things down. When I was cast as Moana at 14, it wonderfully changed my life and started my career. In this live-action retelling, I will not be reprising the role. I believe it is absolutely vital [that] the cast accurately represents the characters and stories we want to tell."

Despite the disappointing update, the original voice actor confirmed that she will still be part of the movie as an executive producer, pointing out that she will help find the next actress to portray the recast character: 

"So, as an executive producer of the film, I cannot wait to help find the next actress to portray Moana’s courageous spirit, undeniable wit, and emotional strength."

Cravalho then expressed excitement about the live-action movie's push for more representation: 

"I’m truly honored to pass this baton to the next young woman of Pacific Island descent to honor our incredible Pacific people’s cultures and communities that helped inspire her story and I look forward to all the beautiful Pacific representation to come. Mahalo."

The video can be seen below: 

Who Will Play the Live-Action Moana?

It is unfortunate that Auliʻi Cravalho will not portray the live-action version of Moana, considering that she did an incredible job playing the character in the animated movie. 

Still, it's possible that the reason Cravalho decided to step down is the fact that she is too old for the role. 

In the movie, Moana is 16 years old, but the actress is currently 22 years old and would be at least 23 years old when production for the live-action movie will begin. 

This latest update will allow Disney to find a new actress to portray the iconic role. There's a chance that the House of Mouse will tap a newcomer to play Moana in the movie, similar to what they did with Cravalho in 2016. 

Hopefully, the new actress who will portray Moana will showcase her own spin on the character, thus inspiring the Pacific people with her beautiful representation. 

Disney's live-action Moana has no release date yet.

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- About The Author: Aeron Mer Eclarinal
Aeron is a news/features writer and Content Lead for The Direct who has been working for the site since March 2020. From writing about the inter-connectivity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to having an extended knowledge about DC TV's Arrowverse, Aeron's expertise has since expanded into the realm of reality TV, K-drama, animated, and live-action shows from Netflix,  Disney+, Prime Video, MGM+, Peacock, Paramount+, and Max. When he isn't writing and watching all things MCU, Aeron is heavily invested with the NBA (go Celtics!) and occasionally watches thrilling matches in the WWE.