Meet Disney's Newest Princess, Moana, and the 14-Year-Old Hawaiian Native Who Plays Her
By John Boone
Remember the Disney movie that made The Rock cry?
When Dwayne Johnson presented the very first clip from the animated film, Moana, at D23 back in August, he started tearing up on stage. “If you don’t get emotional over that...” he said, before laughing. “The Rock’s crying! Oh, that’s funny!”
Now, it’s time to meet the princess at the heart of the movie: Moana, who enlists help from a demi-god named Maui (Johnson) -- as well as a sidekick pig, Pua, and cranky chicken, Hei Hei -- to prove herself a master wayfinder.
On Wednesday, Disney announced that Auli’i Cravalho, a 14-year-old Hawaiian native, will voice Moana. And the video of Cravalho finding out she got the part is guaranteed to pull at a few heartstrings too.
“When I first heard that there was going to be an audition to potentially play the role of Moana, I thought, ‘No way that could be me,’” she recalls. In fact, she didn’t audition -- a Oahu casting agent discovered her singing at a charity competition.
For his part, Johnson has signed off on the casting:
“An awesome lesson to all young kids out there,” he writes. “Work hard, have confidence in yourselves and never think you're not good enough because you never know what the future holds.”