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Moana: Disney casts unknown 17-year-old actor in live-action movietheinsiderinsight

Catherine Laga‘aia has been solid because the eponymous heroine in Disney’s live-action remake of Moana.

Laga‘aia is a 17-year-old Australian actor of Samoan heritage with only one earlier display screen credit score on her resume (2023’s The Misplaced Flowers of Alice Hart sequence).

She’s going to star reverse Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who reprises his function from the 2016 animated film because the demigod Maui.

“I’m actually excited to embrace this character as a result of Moana is certainly one of my favorites,” mentioned Laga‘aia within the announcement. “My grandfather comes from Fa‘aala, Palauli, in Savai‘i. And my grandmother is from Leulumoega Tuai on the primary island of ‘Upolu in Samoa. I’m honored to have a possibility to have fun Samoa and all Pacific Island peoples, and to symbolize younger women who seem like me.”

Laga‘aia’s father is Jay Laga‘aia, the New Zealand-born actor who performed Captain Typho in Star Wars: Episode II – Assault of the Clones and Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith.

The veteran actor additionally took to social media to announce the information, writing on Instagram: “My household and I are so happy to share this information with the remainder of the world. My daughter Katie can lastly share the information that she shall be taking over the function of Moana within the dwell motion Disney film alongside aspect Dwayne Johnson and Lin Manuel Miranda.”

Moana is about to start manufacturing this summer time forward of its deliberate launch on 10 July 2026. The movie is directed by Thomas Kail, (Hamilton on Broadway and Disney+, Grease Dwell and We Had been the Fortunate Ones).

“I’m thrilled to have met Catherine, Rena, Frankie and John by way of this casting course of,” mentioned Kail. “I’m humbled by this chance, and I can’t wait to all be on set collectively. And there’s no higher pair to be in a canoe with than Catherine and Dwayne — really, trio: Heihei is prepared, too.”

17-year-old Catherine Laga‘aia from Sydney, Australia is of Samoan heritage
17-year-old Catherine Laga‘aia from Sydney, Australia is of Samoan heritage (Disney)

Moana tells the story of an adventurous teen who units sail on a harmful mission to avoid wasting her folks. Alongside her journey, she meets Maui (voiced by Johnson) who guides her on her quest.

Final yr, Auli’i Cravalho, the 23-year-old actor who voiced the titular character of the 2016 movie, was praised for her “respectful” determination to sit down out of the movie’s forthcoming remake.

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“After I was solid as Moana at 14, it splendidly modified my life and began my profession. On this live-action retelling, I cannot be reprising the function,” she shared in an Instagram video on the time.

“I consider it’s completely very important that casting precisely represents the characters and tales we need to inform.”

Cravalho will nonetheless have a hand within the remake serving as an government producer and is about to mentor Laga‘aia. She can even reprise her voice function within the animated Moana 2, which can arrive in cinemas on 27 November.

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