Dwayne Johnson announces live-action Moana remake in development at Disney

Johnson will produce the reimagining alongside Dany Garcia and Hiram Garcia via their Seven Bucks Productions for Walt Disney Studios

By Priyanca Rajput 5 Apr 2023

Dwayne Johnson announces live-action Moana remake in development at Disney
Dwayne Johnson in Moana video announcement. Credit: Disney

A live-action reimagining of Walt Disney Animation’s 2016 hit musical Moana is in early development at Disney.

Dwayne Johnson announced the news in a pre-recorded video message from the Hawaiian island of O'ahu, as part of Disney’s annual shareholder meeting on Monday (3 April).

Featuring the voice talents of Auli’i Cravalho and Johnson, the 2016 animated classic is set in ancient Polynesia, and follows Moana (Cravalho), the strong-willed daughter of village Chief Tui (Temuera Morrison), who is chosen by the ocean itself to reunite a mystical relic with the goddess Te Fiti to restore the ecology of the island, with the aid of demigod Maui (Johnson).

Johnson will produce the live-action remake alongside Dany Garcia and Hiram Garcia via their Seven Bucks Productions, as well as Beau Flynn via Flynn Picture Co. Executive producers will include original Moana voice actor Auli’i Cravalho, as well as Flynn Picture Co's Scott Sheldon.

The original film’s screenwriter Jared Bush - whose credits also include Encanto and Zootopia - and Samoan industry savant Dana Ledoux Miller will also partake in the production in an unconfirmed capacity. 

In a statement, Johnson, who is returning to the fictional island of Motunui 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.

He added: “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."

Cravalho noted in a statement of her own that the character of Moana “has had such a profound impact on how we think of Disney princesses. Moana’s strength and perseverance are inspiring — to audiences around the world, to me and to everyone who helped bring her to life. I’m looking forward to sharing her story in a whole new way.”

It is unclear where production will take place at this early stage, but based on Johnson's location-specific announcement which paid homage to his childhood home, it could see the stars bring the story to life once again from the real life Polynesian islands - including Hawaii, Samoa, Tonga, and Tahiti. 

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