Have you heard the news?!?! Disney’s Moana has found her voice! That’s right! Walt Disney Animation Studios’ search worldwide to cast the film’s title character.
Native Hawaiian newcomer Auli’i Cravalho, 14, joins Dwayne Johnson in the big-screen adventure about a spirited and fearless teenager named Moana (voice of Cravalho) who, with help from demi-god Maui (voice of Johnson), sets out on a daring mission to prove herself a master wayfinder.
Many talented people from across the Pacific Islands auditioned for the voice of Moana, but Auli’i Cravalho got the part!
“I didn’t think I would have a chance,” she said. “When I was little, I used to dance around the house singing at the top of my lungs. In my mind, that was performing and I loved the feeling of it. But I never imagined being in a Disney movie, being Moana—representing my culture in that way.”
The film’s Hawai’i casting director actually remembered Cravalho from a previous audition she did as part of an a cappella group (which had been submitted for a talent showcase for a charity). The director felt that the local teen would be perfect for the Disney role! She tracked her and her mother down and invited Cravalho to audition.
“Her audition was fantastic – she was such a raw talent,” said producer Osnat Shurer. “Auli’i was among a small number of girls we brought back for a second round of auditions. Then we flew her and her mom over to audition at our studios in Burbank.”
“Auli’i demonstrated a certain fearlessness in her auditions and call-backs,” said director John Musker. “She has a playful, mischievous wit. She can project vulnerability, she doesn’t seem intimidated at all by the challenges ahead, and her Polynesian background has helped shape her connection to family, hard work and music. These are all qualities she shares with Moana.”
“Moana is a vibrant, tenacious 16-year-old growing up on an island where voyaging is forbidden,” added director Ron Clements. “But Moana has been drawn to the ocean since she can remember and is desperate to find out what’s beyond the confines of her island.”
“Moana” sails into U.S. theaters on Nov. 23, 2016.