Auli’i Cravalho Confirms She Won’t Star in Live-Action “Moana”: “Truly Honored to Pass This Baton”

Auli’i Cravalho Confirms She Won’t Star in Live-Action “Moana”: “Truly Honored to Pass This Baton”

Image Source: Getty / Gilbert Flores

“Moana” fans around the world rejoiced when Dwayne Johnson revealed that a live-action adaption of the Disney hit is officially in production. Unfortunately, although Johnson is returning, Auli’i Cravalho — who voiced “Moana” in the animated original — won’t be reprising her role in the remake.

“When I was cast as Moana at 14 it wonderfully changed my life and started my career,” Cravalho said in an Instagram video shared May 19. “In this live-action retelling I will not be reprising the role. I believe it is absolutely vital that casting accurately represents the characters and stories we want to tell. So, as an executive producer on the film, I cannot wait to help find the next actress to portray Moana’s courageous spirit, undeniable wit and emotional strength. I am truly honored to pass this baton to the next young woman of Pacific Island descent, to honor our incredible Pacific peoples, cultures and communities that helped inspire her story. And I look forward to all the beautiful Pacific representation to come.”

22-year-old Cravalho will be serving alongside Johnson as an executive producer, though, meaning that she’ll still be involved in bringing the story to life once more.

Johnson initially confirmed the news about the live-action adaption in a video shared on April 3. In the announcement, which featured two of Johnson’s young daughters, the star celebrated his connection to the island and his pride in the film. “We are here on the island of O’ahu, where I did a lot of growing up. As you know, Hawai’i means so much to my family and me,” he said. “The Pacific islands and their cultures inspired a very special story. One that you all know very well. And that story is . . . drumroll please . . . ‘Moana’!”

He went on to announce the live-action adaption, and also shared that his own character, Maui, was hugely inspired by his grandfather. “We found so much inspiration for Maui in the mana and the presence of my late grandfather, the legendary High Chief Peter Maivia,” Johnson said. “He would walk in, light up the room — the energy, the tattoos, the hair, the bod . . . In a way, when I bring Maui to life, I’m doing it in the spirit of my grandfather.”

Johnson further celebrated the news in a statement. “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,” he said in a press release. “I want to thank my partners at Disney for their strong commitment to this special endeavor, because there is no better world for us to honor 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 also shared her excitement in a statement at the time. “She has had such a profound impact on how we think of Disney princesses,” she said of the movie’s protagonist. “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.”

Watch Johnson’s announcement below.

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