July 17, 2024

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Moana: Disney taps 17-year-old Australian Katherine Lagaia to star in live-action version

Moana: Disney taps 17-year-old Australian Katherine Lagaia to star in live-action version

Disney

Catherine Lagaia will play the lead role in Disney’s live-action version of “Moana,” which begins filming this summer.



CNN

An Australian teenager of Samoan heritage has been announced as the star of the upcoming live version of the hit song Disney film “Moana.”

Seventeen-year-old Catherine Lagaia has been chosen to play the heroine of the film, which begins filming this summer.

The film will “celebrate the islands, communities and traditions of Pacific Islanders in an amazing adventure,” according to the company’s announcement Disneywhich added: “Catherine Lagaia will travel to Motunui and beyond as the adventurous teen who sets sail on a daring mission to save her people in Disney’s upcoming live-action film Moana.”

Laga’aia’s IMDB profile shows only one other listing – for three episodes of the TV series “The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart,” which also starred Sigourney Weaver.

However, she is no stranger to the entertainment industry, as her father is Jay Lagaia, a New Zealand-born actor who starred in two “Star Wars” films.

Disney announced the casting online, saying Laga’aia will appear alongside Dwayne Johnson as Maui, the larger-than-life demigod who provided the voice for him in the original 2016 animated film. He is also one of the film’s producers, along with Lin-Manuel Miranda , the composer of “Hamilton,” who wrote much of the original film’s soundtrack.

In a statement included in the announcement, Lagaia, who lives in Sydney, said: “I’m really excited to take on this character because Moana is one of my favorite characters.

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“My grandfather comes from Fala, Paluli, on Savaii. And my grandmother is from Leulumuega Tuai on Samoa’s main island of Upolu. I’m honored to have the opportunity to celebrate Samoa and all Pacific Island people, and represent young girls who look like me.”

Disney

The 17-year-old from Sydney, Australia is of Samoan heritage.

Her proud father took to social media to announce and share the news as well Instagram: “My family and I are so excited to share this news with the rest of the world. My daughter Katie can finally share the news that she will be taking on the role of Moana in the live-action Disney film alongside Dwayne Johnson and Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Scheduled for release in July 2026, the film also stars New Zealand actor John Tui as Moana’s father, New Zealand Samoan actress Frankie Adams as her mother, and Rena Owen as narrator Gramma Tala.

Directing is Thomas Kail, whose previous credits include “Hamilton” on Broadway and Disney+.

Johnson announced news of the live version last year. Ali said Instagram “This story is my culture, and this story symbolizes the grace and fighting power of our people.”

The animated film “Moana” has been a smash hit, earning more than $680 million at the box office and the most-streamed film of 2023, according to Nielsen tracking. The sequel, “Moana 2”, is scheduled to be released in November.

Auli’i Cravalho played Moana in the original film, alongside Rachel House, Nicole Scherzinger, and Temuera Morrison.

Disney has successfully reimagined many of its animated classics as live-action films, starting with “Beauty and the Beast” in 2017, followed by “Aladdin” and “The Lion King” in 2019 and “The Little Mermaid” last year .

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