HomeAAPI ActorsDisney casts Catherine Laga‘aia as Moana in upcoming live-action adaptation

Disney casts Catherine Laga‘aia as Moana in upcoming live-action adaptation

Catherine Laga’aia is Moana.

According to Deadline, Disney announced on Tuesday that it had cast Laga’aia in the titular role of its upcoming Moana live-action adaptation. The 17-year-old is from Sydney, Australia.

“I’m really excited to embrace this character because Moana is one of my favorites,” Laga’aia said in a statement per Deadline. “My grandfather comes from Fa‘aala, Palauli, in Savai‘i. And my grandmother is from Leulumoega Tuai on the main island of ‘Upolu in Samoa. I’m honored to have an opportunity to celebrate Samoa and all Pacific Island peoples, and to represent young girls who look like me.”

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson will reprise his role as Maui, having voiced the character in the animated film. According to Entertainment Tonight, the film has cast John Tui as Moana’s father, Chief Tui; Frankie Adams as Sina, Moana’s mother; and Rena Owen as Moana’s influential Gramma Tala.

“I am thrilled to have met Catherine, Rena, Frankie and John through this casting process. I am humbled by this opportunity, and I cannot wait to all be on set together. And there’s no better pair to be in a canoe with than Catherine and Dwayne—actually, a trio: Heihei is ready, too,” Thomas Kail director of the live-action adaptation said in a statement. 

According to PEOPLE Magazine, Laga’aia’s father, Jay Laga’aia, appeared to reference his daughter’s new role in an Instagram post last month.

“Today my darling daughter Katie leaves for a huge adventure,” he wrote. “She will be gone for the rest of the year and on this leg her mother and younger sister will accompany her. You travel with the teachings of your parents and the love of your family and friends. Have fun and look after your mum. Dad xxx.”

The live-action adaptation is slated to be released in theaters on July 10, 2026. The animated sequel, Moana 2, will premiere on November 27 this year.

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