Frequent readers of Cinelinx will know that we often report that Disney has cast or hired an unknown talent to helm a rather large project. With their new Hawaiian hit, they’ve decided to dip back in the pool of obscurity and pluck out a fresh new talent to be the voice of their lead character. Playing Moana will be native Hawaiian Auli’i Cravalho, seen below.
Cravalho, only 14, was one of a small pool of young actresses brought back for the final auditions and according to the crew of Moana, she nailed it.
According to producer Osnat Shurer, “Her audition was fantastic – she was such a raw talent. Auli’i was among a small number of girls we brought back for a second round of auditions. Then we flew her and her mom over to audition at our studios in Burbank.”
Director John Musker had this to say, “Auli’i demonstrated a certain fearlessness in her auditions and call-backs. She has a playful, mischievous wit. She can project vulnerability, she doesn’t seem intimidated at all by the challenges ahead, and her Polynesian background has helped shape her connection to family, hard work and music. These are all qualities she shares with Moana.”
Finally, this is what Cravalho had to say about the role, herself, “I didn’t think I would have a chance,. When I was little, I used to dance around the house singing at the top of my lungs. In my mind, that was performing and I loved the feeling of it. But I never imagined being in a Disney movie, being Moana—representing my culture in that way.”
It certainly is a quite the accomplishment in a budding career. If Moana is as good as it looks, this could just be the first in a long career of accomplishments for the 14 year old.
Auli’i Cravalho joins Dwayne Johnson in Moana which is set to hit theaters November 23, 2016.
Three thousand years ago, the greatest sailors in the world voyaged across the vast South Pacific, discovering the many islands of Oceania. But then, for a millennium, their voyages stopped – and no one today knows why. From Walt Disney Animation Studios comes “Moana,” a sweeping, CG-animated adventure about a spirited teenager who sails out on a daring mission to prove herself a master wayfinder and fulfill her ancestors’ unfinished quest. During her journey, Moana (voice of Auli’i Cravalho) meets the once-mighty demi-god Maui (voice of Dwayne Johnson), and together, they traverse the open ocean on an action-packed voyage, encountering enormous fiery creatures and impossible odds. Directed by the renowned filmmaking team of Ron Clements and John Musker (“The Little Mermaid,” “Aladdin,” “The Princess & the Frog”), and produced by Osnat Shurer (“Lifted,” “One Man Band”)
What do you think of the casting?