The live-action remake of Moana is moving full steam ahead, with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson set to bring Maui to life. However,, the title character’s originator, Auli’i Cravalho, won’t reprise her role despite being an executive producer on the project. While fans of the original movie were sad to hear the news, Cravalho explained why it’s really important for another actress to play the character in the live-action version.
The Moana star gave her thoughts to The Wrap about passing the torch to another actress while promoting the Mean Girls musical remake. Playing the Disney character served as Caravalho’s breakthrough Hollywood role. It appeared the rising star wants the live-action remake to do the same for another Pacific Islander actress, saying:
The Mean Girls actress doesn’t want to be one of the few Pacific Islanders making waves in Hollywood. She sees the Disney remake as opening more doors for other PI talent. When the original 2016 animated film hit theaters, it was a watershed moment for Pacific Islander representation by using authentic Hawaiian history, myths and aesthetics. The Hollywood actress wants to see more Pacific Islanders and their stories in the mainstream. She held her ground on a more authentic representation of Hawaii and its people, saying:
As the actress-singer mentioned, representation of the state and its people has been one-dimensional over the decades. Oftentimes, the island is seen more as a playground for American and international travelers. The people are relegated to the background or side characters. However, the Darby and the Dead star wants to do her part by being both in front of and behind the camera. Having more Pacific Islanders involved in every aspect of filmmaking will push the state and people from the background to the foreground.
Auli’i Cravalho won’t be the only OG Moana star producing the live-action remake, as Dwayne Johnson will serve as a producer through his Seven Bucks Productions company. Hamilton stage director Thomas Kail will make his feature film debut through the remake. The live-action adaptation will arrive in theaters on June 27, 2025. The live-action Moana will have huge shoes to fill as the original film grossed $682 million worldwide and garnered critical acclaim and awards nominations, including two Oscar nominations. Before the live-action remake arrives, the animated film is available to stream through a Disney+ subscription.