Catherine Laga’aia joins Dwayne Johnson as Moana in live-action film slated for July 2026

The upcoming film will begin production this summer.

June 12, 2024, 8:50 PM

Walt Disney Studios has announced the star of its live-action “Moana” film.

On Wednesday, it was announced that Catherine Laga’aia, 17, will play Moana alongside Dwayne Johnson in the live-action adaptation of the 2016 animated movie.

The Sydney, Australia, native also joins John Tui, who will portray Moana’s father, Chief Tui, Frankie Adams, who will portray Moana’s mother, Sina, and Rena Owen, who will play Gramma Tala.

Catherine Laga'aia appears in this image.
Walt Disney Studios

Johnson, who voiced the character of Maui in the animated film, will reprise the role in the live-action film.

“I’m really excited to embrace this character because Moana is one of my favorites,” Laga’aia said in a quote shared in the press release. “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 the Pacific Island peoples, and to represent young girls who look like me,” she added.

The upcoming film, which will be directed by Thomas Kail and produced by Johnson, will “bring to life in a whole new way the story of a young woman eager to pave her own path,” according to the press release.

It will also “celebrate the islands, communities of Pacific Islanders in a spectacular adventure,” the press release read.

Frankie Adams, John Tui, and and Rena Owen appear in this image.
Walt Disney Studios (2) | Manfred Baumann

Kail said in a statement that he is “thrilled to have met Catherine, Rena, Frankie and John through this casting process.”

“I cannot wait to all be on set together,” he added. “And there’s no better pair to be in a canoe with than Catherine and Dwayne -- actually, trio: Heihei is ready too.”

Along with Johnson, Dany Garcia and Hiram Garcia will also produce the film via their Seven Bucks Productions and Beau Flynn via FlynnPictureCo. Lin-Manuel Miranda, who wrote the original songs in the animated film, will serve as a producer.

Executive producers include Scott Sheldon of FlynnPictureCo, Charles Newirth and Auli’i Cravalho, who voiced Moana in the 2016 film.

Production on the “Moana” live-action film will kick off this summer, and the upcoming adventure is slated to hit theaters on July 10, 2026.

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