After auditioning “hundreds of talented young woman throughout the Pacific Islands,” Disney has found the young actress that will voice their newest princess, Moana, and they’ve released a video introducing her. She is 14-year-old Native Hawaiian Auli’i Cravalho.
Auli’i got a callback after her first audition, where the directors had a little fun with her, asking her to do another reading pretending she got the role, which they then told her was actually very real. When Auli’I heard she was going to be Moana, she broke out into tears. “I didn’t think I would have a chance,” she said via press release. “When I was little, I used to dance around the house singing at the top of my lungs. In my mind, that was performing and I loved the feeling of it. But I never imagined being in a Disney movie, being Moana—representing my culture in that way.”
“Auli’i demonstrated a certain fearlessness in her auditions and call-backs,” said director John Musker. “She has a playful, mischievous wit. She can project vulnerability, she doesn’t seem intimidated at all by the challenges ahead, and her Polynesian background has helped shape her connection to family, hard work and music. These are all qualities she shares with Moana.”
“Moana is a vibrant, tenacious 16-year-old growing up on an island where voyaging is forbidden,” added director Ron Clements. “But Moana has been drawn to the ocean since she can remember and is desperate to find out what’s beyond the confines of her island.”
Moana is about a young woman who “uses her navigational talents to set sail for a fabled island” and is joined on “her on the adventure” by her hero, “the legendary demi-god Maui.” Maui will be voiced by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who welcomed his new co-star on Instagram.
Moana is scheduled to open in time for Thanksgiving Day in 2016. Which Disney Princess is your favorite? Tell us in the comments section.