Meet 'Moana,' Disney's First Polynesian Princess, Starring Dwayne Johnson, Auli'i Cravalho
Disney princesses have been a childhood staple for girls around the world since the arrival of the first princess in 1937. As the regal women of Disney become more and more diverse, the brand has made it their duty to stretch the limits of inspiration. In the forthcoming animated film Moana, starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and newcomer Auli'i Cravalho, Disney will introduce their first Polynesian princess.
Cravalho, a 14-year-old rising actress from Oahu, Hawaii, is the voice of Disney's newest princess, Moana Waialiki. Despite thousands of audition tape submissions, Cravalho set herself apart from the rest by showcasing her many talents.
After a casting agent discovered the power in her voice while singing during a charity competition, the teen was immediately flown out to Los Angeles to meet Moana's directors, Ron Clements and John Musker (The Little Mermaid, Aladdin). Cravalho was later officially chosen to fill the role, alongside Johnson. This will be the first time The Rock has showcased his singing talents since starting his acting career in 2001.
"From baby time to now, I wanted to be a Disney princess and then I wanted to be a singer or an actress," Cravalho said to PEOPLE.
A photo posted by Disney Collection (@mmdisney200) on Oct 7, 2015 at 7:31am PDT
The animated feature film takes fans back 2,000 years as they follow a young girl named Moana on a crazy voyage across the sea to fulfill her ancestor's quest. The story is set in an ancient South Pacific place as Oceania, where Moana embarks on her adventure, according to ComingSoon.net.
During her journey, she meets legendary demi-god Maui (played by Johnson). The two team up to battle monstrous sea creatures and explore the beautiful scenery of the underworld.
"Moana is such an amazing character. She's brave, she is so empowered, she knows what she wants and she's not afraid to get it, and I think that's something that I can relate to as well. I just love watching how she goes along in this wonderful movie and grows as a person and helps her culture along the way."
A photo posted by Will Lane (@willlane01) on Oct 7, 2015 at 5:57am PDT
A photo posted by Disney Collection (@mmdisney200) on Oct 7, 2015 at 7:30am PDT
Her addition to the Disney princess dynasty will now bring the total group number to 14. The Disney princess list is as follows: Snow White, Cinderella, Aurora, Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, Pocahontas, Mulan, Tiana, Rapunzel, Merida, Anna, and Elsa. Moana will be the fifth princess of color in Disney's lineup.
Moana is expected to hit theaters Nov. 23, 2016.
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