Catherine Laga‘aia cast as Moana in live-action flick

Catherine Laga‘aia is the new Moana in the live-action film credit:Bang Showbiz
Catherine Laga‘aia is the new Moana in the live-action film credit:Bang Showbiz

Catherine Laga‘aia is set to star in the titular role for the live-action 'Moana' movie.

Disney has announced the 17-year-old actress - who has Samoan roots - "will be voyaging to Motunui and beyond as the adventurous teenager who sails out on a daring mission to save her people."

She said: “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 honored to have an opportunity to celebrate Samoa and all Pacific Island peoples, and to represent young girls who look like me.”

The character was voiced by Auliʻi Cravalho, 23, in the 2016 animated movie and the upcoming sequel, which is due for release on November 27, and is separate from the live-action movie.

New Zealander John Tui will play Moana’s "no-nonsense" father, Chief Tui, Samoan-New Zealand actress Frankie Adams portrays Moana’s "playful and strong-willed" mother, Sina, and Rena Owen, who hails from Bay of Islands, NZ, was cast as the "revered" Gramma Tala.

It was previously confirmed that Dwayne Johnson, 52, who voiced the eccentric demigod Maui in the 2016 animated version of the film, will reprise his role.

A press release continues: "Moana will bring to life in a whole new way the story of a young woman eager to pave her own path. Celebrating the islands, communities and traditions of Pacific Islanders in a spectacular adventure, the production begins filming this summer. "

Director Thomas Kail said: "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."

The flick is due to hit cinemas on July 10, 2026.