Dwayne Johnson confirms live action remake of Moana with original actress Auli’i Cravalho returning

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Dwayne Johnson confirms animated film Moana will be getting a live action remake like The Little Mermaid.

Dwayne Johnson has announced a live action adaptation of Moana is in the works with Auli’i Cravalho. The duo voiced the characters of Maui and Moana, respectively and became international sensations. Moana is the latest in a long line of Disney animated films getting the live action treatment from the upcoming Lilo and Stich to the highly anticipated The Little Mermaid starring Halle Bailey.

Johnson was joined by his two daughters in the announcement video and spoke about how special the live action remake is to him, as well as his family, mentioning that playing Maui connected him to his Grandfather known as “High Chief” Peter Maivia.

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Johnson said: "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 endeavour, because there is no better world for us to honour 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."

Auli’i Cravalho, the native Hawaiian actor who voiced Moana in the original film will be producing the film. Cravalho expressed her excitement at the thought of sharing Moana’s story in a whole new way, saying: "Moana’s strength and perseverance are inspiring, not only to audiences around the world but also to me and to everyone who helped bring her to life."

Johnson said that the project had a lot of work that needed to be done ahead of its release, however, he did give fans an exciting look at a real life version of Maui’s hook which is more than enough to get fans bouncing with excitement.

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Sean Bailey, president of Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production, said that the live-action "Moana" movie would join a successful lineup of live-action adaptations that includes "Beauty and the Beast," "Aladdin," and the highly anticipated live-action version of "The Little Mermaid."

The original Moana movie debuted in 2016 and grossed nearly $644 million in global box office. As of 2022, it is one of the top 15 movies streamed in the United States and continues to be a global fan favourite.

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The film’s soundtrack, written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Opetaia Foa’i, and Mark Mancina, was lauded worldwide, winning a Grammy for Best Song Written for Visual Media ("How Far I’ll Go") and an Oscar nomination for Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures - Original Song ("How Far I’ll Go").

Why are Disney doing so many live action remakes?

There are many reasons as to why Disney could be remaking their most popular animated films. One being that it gives new creators a chance to breathe fresh life into their most famous stories and characters. Another obvious reason would be money, the live action Beauty and The Beast earned more than $1 billion at the box office and The Jungle Book came close with $966.6 million.

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Scott Mendelson of Forbes told Digital Spy that the studio had “terrible luck in the last 15 years with wholly new live-action fantastic flicks/franchises” so it’s not surprising that they would look to established properties. Additionally, it is a way for Disney to retain the rights of their properties while profiting at the same time, we all saw what happened when Winnie the Pooh rights expired in January 2022.

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