Entertainment behemoth Disney is developing a live-action remake of its 2016 animation masterpiece Moana.
Dwayne Johnson, alongside Disney’s head honcho Bob Iger, shared this news during the company’s annual shareholder meeting on Monday. In a video filmed on the Hawaiian island of O’ahu and released via Disney’s YouTube channel, Johnson revealed his family’s ties to the island and how his late grandfather, High Chief Peter Maivia, served as inspiration for his character Maui.
Johnson went on to state that "This story is my culture, and this story is emblematic of our people’s grace and warrior strength." He expressed his pride in the culture as well as the depth of emotions that run through him in reprising the role.
In the press release that accompanied the announcement, Disney stated "Like its animated predecessor, the film will celebrate the islands, communities and traditions of Pacific Islanders as seen through the eyes of a young woman eager to pave her own path. Moana’s journey of self-discovery and reflection on the lives of her ancestors won hearts worldwide, as did her newfound friendship with an exiled demigod named Maui."
According to Johnson, the titular character Moana, his character Maui, and the goddess Te Fiti will appear alongside Gramma Tala and Heihei in the live-action remake. The wrestler-turned-actor and producer also revealed that the remake will feature the music and dance that made the animated film memorable.
While Johnson’s statements point to him reprising his role as Maui, he didn’t expressly reveal that he will be returning or whether any of the former cast will reprise their roles in the film. However, he will serve as one of the executive producers via his production company Seven Bucks Productions. Jared Bush, who penned the original film, will also reprise his role in the remake.
Moana is the latest Disney animation to get a live-action treatment in keeping with Disney’s recent trend that has seen The Lion King, Aladdin, and Beauty and the Beast return to the big screen. The trend will also see the release of a live-action version of The Little Mermaid as well as Peter Pan in the coming month. Where Moana differs from the other remakes is in the fact that it was only released seven years ago while the others are considered classics.
Apart from Moana, the entertainment behemoth also has Lilo & Stitch, Bambi, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Snow White, and Hercules at various stages of development.
The original Moana starred Auli’l Cravalho as the titular character and Johnson as the demigod Maui. It also starred Rachel House, Alan Tudyk, Temuera Morrison, Jermaine Clement, and Nicole Scherzinger. The animated musical was both a commercial and critical success, with a box office gross of over $690 million against an estimated $150 million as well as overwhelmingly positive reviews that includes a 95% Rotten Tomatoes approval rating.
Neither Disney nor Johnson provided any information on the film’s release date, cast, or crew, which is hardly surprising given that the film is still in its early stages.
By the way, last month, Johnson finally opened up about Henry Cavill’s exit from the DCU. Although he was cordial, the Hollywood star, who allegedly tried to take over DC, expressed what seemed like disappointment at the decision of the new heads of DC James Gunn and Peter Safran.