At Disney’s D23 Expo in Anaheim, California, Walt Disney Animation Studios unveiled concept art from the upcoming film, Moana, and introduced the musical team, with the help of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson—the only star currently associated with the film, although there have been many rumors about various actresses who might play the part of Moana.
“Samoa is in my blood,” Johnson, who is Samoan and African American, told the audience. “And to tell a story inspired by the South Pacific is truly a great honor.”
Moana will feature Disney’s first Polynesian and Pacific Islander princess, a spirited and adventurous teenager named Moana Waialiki, who leaves her home in ancient Oceania to prove herself on an epic ocean adventure, navigating the open seas, accompanied only by the demigod Maui, voiced by Johnson, and two comical sidekicks, a pig named Pua, and a chicken named Hei Hei.
Johnson will also sing as part of his role.
The musical team will be South Pacific musician Opetaia Foa'i of the group Te Vaka, composer Mark Mancina who wrote the music for The Lion King, and Tony-award winning songwriter Lin-Manuel Miranda who wrote the music for Hamilton on Broadway. Te Vaka performed one of the original songs written for the film.
Johnson told the audience what being in the film meant to him: “When I first got in this business 15 years ago — I’ve been a lucky guy and had a pretty good career over the years — I had a goal, and the goal was to be in the Disney family. Yes.”
The film is expected to open in theaters November 23, 2016.