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Actor Dwayne Johnson has plans to return to demigod status when he once again plays Maui in Disney’s “Moana.” This time, though, Johnson won’t simply voice the larger-than-life Maui. He will apparently embody the character completely as part of a live-action adaptation in development for Disney.
In a Twitter post, Johnson (along with his two daughters) announced the project from the beaches of Hawaii, sharing a personal reason for picking up Maui’s giant fish hook again.
“Humbled to say we’re bringing #MOANA’s beautiful story to the live-action big screen,” Johnson tweeted. “#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 is at the core is who we are as Polynesian people.”
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 pic.twitter.com/CxJFKQewUS
— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) April 3, 2023
In the video, Johnson goes on to say that both Disney and he found the essence of Maui’s character in his grandfather, High Chief Peter Maivia.
“He would walk in, light up the room, the energy, the tattoos, the hair, the bod,” Johnson said, riffing a little from Maui’s song “You’re Welcome” in the original animated movie.
In a press statement, Disney explained that the re-imagining of “Moana” into a live-action film is meant to “celebrate the islands, communities, and traditions of Pacific Islanders as seen through the eyes of a young woman eager to pave her own path.”
Johnson will serve as one of the project’s executive producers, along with fellow original “Moana” co-star Auli’i Cravalho, who voiced the title character.
“She [Moana] has had such a profound impact on how we think of Disney princesses,” Cravalho said in the press statement. “Moana’s strength and perseverance are inspiring — to audiences around the world, to me, and to everyone who helped bring her to life. I’m looking forward to sharing her story in a whole new way.”
However, neither Cravalho nor Disney has confirmed whether the Cravalho will reprise her role in the film. One potential issue may be that she was only 14 when she won the role and 16 when the movie came out. The actress is now 22 years old.
Still, the original “Moana” has played a pivotal role in Cravahlo’s life, so it’s great that she’s involved in some way.
“Moana shaped me, first and foremost,” she told ABC Audio in May 2022. “I will always be grateful for her character traits of strength and resilience, and her adventurous nature. And I take them with me wherever I go.”