Live-Action MOANA Movie Casts Lead Actress Catherine Laga‘aia

It usually takes some time for an animated Disney film to get a live-action film adaptation. But according to the Mouse House, they’re bringing the beloved 2016 film Moana into live-action. This film was meant to hit theaters in 2025, but now, the live-action Moana movie is coming on July 10, 2026. That actually works, considering it will be the tenth anniversary of the original movie. Production on the movie will begin in the fall of 2024. The Moana live-action movie has even released cast information, including for its new Moana actress, Catherine Laga‘aia.

The Live-Action Moana Movie Casts Its Moana and Other Characters

live action moana finds actress to play moana Catherine Laga‘aia

A release from Disney reveals, “Catherine Laga‘aia will be voyaging to Motunui and beyond as the adventurous teenager who sails out on a daring mission to save her people in Disney’s upcoming live-action Moana.” Laga‘aia notes,  “I’m really excited to embrace this character because Moana is one of my favorites. 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.”

Joining Laga‘aia are “Auckland, New Zealander John Tui as Moana’s no-nonsense father, Chief Tui; Samoan-New Zealand actress Frankie Adams portrays Moana’s playful and strong-willed mother, Sina; and Rena Owen, who hails from Bay of Islands, NZ, was cast as the revered Gramma Tala. Previously announced, Dwayne Johnson, who voiced larger-than-life demigod Maui in the 2016 animated version of the film, will reprise his role.”

Moana is directed by Thomas Kail,

Dwayne Johnson Returns to Live-Action Moana

Yes, this live-action Moana will see one of its original stars producing and starring. And yes, that star is Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who played the part of demigod Maui in the original film. Johnson tweeted the official announcement of his return to the world of Moana, which you can watch right here:

The Walt Disney Company and Dwayne Johnson also released this statement on the new, live-action iteration of Moana:

I’m deeply humbled and overcome with gratitude to bring the beautiful story of Moana to the live-action big screen. This story is my culture, and this story is emblematic of our people’s grace and warrior strength. I wear this culture proudly on my skin and in my soul, and this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reunite with Maui, inspired by the mana and spirit of my late grandfather, High Chief Peter Maivia, is one that runs very deep for me. I want to thank my partners at Disney for their strong commitment to this special endeavor, because there is no better world for us to honor the story of our people, our passion and our purpose than through the realm of music and dance, which is at the core of who we are as Polynesian people.

Moana and Maui from the animated film Moana, and Dwayne the Rock Johnson from Disney's The Jungle Cruise. A live action Moana is in the works.
The Walt Disney Company

Auli‘i Cravalho Will Not Return in Live-Action Moana

Auli‘i Cravalho, who voiced Moana in the animated film, is also one of the producers. She shared on Instagram in May that she, however, would not be reprising the role of Moana. Cravalho said, “As an executive producer on the film, I cannot wait to help find the next actress to portray Moana’s courageous spirit, undeniable wit, and emotional strength.”

What Is the Release Date for the Live-Action Moana Movie?

The live-action Moana will arrive in theaters on July 10, 2026.

Originally published on April 3, 2023.

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