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'Moana' live-action remake set at Disney, with The Rock returning

“There is no better world for us to honor the story ... than through the realm of music and dance, which is at the core of who we are as Polynesian people,” Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson said.
Dwayne Johnson in Mexico City on Oct. 3, 2022.
Dwayne Johnson in Mexico City in 2022.Hector Vivas / Getty Images file

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson announced a new live-action remake of “Moana” during the Disney 2023 Annual Meeting of Shareholders Webcast on Monday.

“Humbled to say we’re bringing #MOANA’s beautiful story to the live action big screen! #MAUI changed my life (miss you grandpa) and I’m honored to partner with @DisneyStudios to tell our story thru the realm of music & dance, which at the core is who we are as Polynesian people,” Johnson tweeted as the announcement dropped.

The 2016 animated film was a big hit for Disney, making over $680 million at the box office. The new film will be produced by Flynn Picture Co. Auli‘i Cravalho, the voice of Moana in the original film, is listed as one of the executive producers of the project. 

“I’m deeply humbled and overcome with gratitude to bring the beautiful story of Moana to the live-action big screen,” Johnson said in a statement. “This story is my culture, and this story is emblematic of our people’s grace and warrior strength.”

The reimagining is in its early development stage, Johnson said in a pre-recorded message from Hawaii as part of the shareholder meeting. The live-action announcement comes almost a decade after the announcement of Walt Disney Animation Studios’ first Polynesian princess, when Native Hawaiian Cravalho was revealed as the lead actor, whom Johnson worked alongside as the demigod Maui.

Johnson spoke of commemorating his grandfather, Samoan professional wrestler Peter Maivia, when playing the role of Maui. 

“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,” Johnson said.