Disney Casts Newcomer Catherine Laga‘aia as Their Live Action ‘Moana’


After an extensive search, Disney has found the next Moana. Newcomer Catherine Laga‘aia will star as the titular character in the remake of the 2016 hit animated film. The 17-year-old actor hails from Sydney, Australia, and joins Dwayne Johnson in the feature, reprising his role as demigod Maui.


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


Other cast for the Moana remake include Auckland, New Zealander actor John Tui as Moana’s father, Chief Tui; Samoan-New Zealand actor Frankie Adams as Moana’s mother, Sina; and Rena Owen, who hails from Bay of Islands, NZ, as Gramma Tala. 


Moana has become a cornerstone movie for Disney, as the 2016 feature has been among top of the most streamed films in the U.S. for several years. According to Nielsen, it was the most viewed streaming movie of 2023 in the U.S. (It was No. 4 in 2022, and No. 2 in 2021 and 2020).


Disney also has a separate, animated sequel to Moana due out Nov. 27.


via The Hollywood Reporter

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Meghan Murphy

Geeking out through mental illness. Mom. Wife. Freelance writer. Pear shaped. I espouse very strong opinions on comic books and popular culture. If your wisdom is "conventional," it's probably wrong.