After an exhaustive search, the studio has cast 14-year-old native Hawaiian, Auli’i Cravalho, in “Moana,” which is due in theaters in November 2016. “From baby time to now, I wanted to be a Disney princess and then I wanted to be a singer or an actress,” Cravalho told People.
The titular character is a teen girl living some 2,000 years ago, who sets out on an arduous sea journey to prove herself as a master navigator. Along the way, she meets demi-god Maui (Dwayne Johnson), who accompanies her as they face enormous sea creatures, breathtaking underworlds and ancient folklore.
So what’s all the happens about?
1) This is Disney’s first-ever Polynesian princess and the fifth woman of color to be included in the group.
2) Almost the entire film is set in the ocean. Moana leaves her island village near Hawaii to seek out a mythical island thousands of miles away where her ancestors are buried.
3) The soundtrack will feature remixed, upbeat music by Te Vaka, an Auckland-based pop group that draws the majority of its influence from traditional Polynesian music and instruments.
4) In true Disney fashion, she’s accompanied by this adorable pig, Pua!
5) Moana is a symbol of humanity’s connection to the ocean. In the official press release, Moana is described as “indomitable, passionate and a dreamer with a unique connection to the ocean itself” and as being “the kind of character we all root for.” We hope this means the film will not only bring attention to the cultures of Polynesia, but also to the beauty of the ocean and even the importance of the ocean in human life.