Theatre News

Moana live-action film announces casting

The flick features Lin-Manuel Miranda’s classic tunes

Catherine 1
Catherine Laga’aia, photo supplied by Disney

Cast for the live-action Moana film has been revealed.

Seventeen-year-old Catherine Laga’aia will take on the title role in the nautical musical flick, while the cast will also include Dwayne Johnson, who is set to reprise his role as Maui.

The cast also includes Auckland-based actor John Tui as Moana’s father Chief Tui, Samoan-New Zealand actress Frankie Adams as Moana’s mother Sina and Rena Owen, who hails from Bay of Islands, as Gramma Tala.

Laga’aia said today: 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 honoured to have an opportunity to celebrate Samoa and all Pacific Island peoples, and to represent young girls who look like me.”

Thomas Kail (Hamilton) will direct the film, adding: ““I am thrilled to have met Catherine, Rena, Frankie and John through this casting process. I am humbled by this opportunity, and I cannot wait to all be on set together. And there’s no better pair to be in a canoe with than Catherine and Dwayne—actually, trio: Heihei is ready, too.”

Lin-Manuel Miranda, who wrote the original songs, will also serve as producer. Executive producers include Scott Sheldon of FlynnPictureCo., Auli‘i Cravalho, who voiced Moana in the 2016 film, and Charles Newirth.

The film is set to sail into cinemas in July 2026, with production beginning this summer.