Dwayne Johnson Grabs the Big Fish Hook to Announce ‘Moana’ Live-Action Remake
Moana will be the next Disney animated film to get a live-action remake, with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson — who was part of the original film’s voice cast — announcing the project on Monday, April 3.
Johnson delivered the news from a beach on O’ahu, Hawaii, in a video featuring some participation — and a bit of singing — from his two daughters. The actor promised that the live-action adaptation would feature the return of all the music and characters that made the 2016 original a hit. Johnson added that he would be reprising his role as Maui — a hook-wielding, shapeshifting demigod who joins Moana on her journey — though not before briefly joking that he’d actually be taking on the part of Heihei, the chicken.
“This story is my culture, and this story is emblematic of our people’s grace, mana and warrior strength,” Johnson wrote in a comment accompanying the clip on Instagram.
Johnson also spoke about his deep connection to Maui, saying his portrayal of the character was largely inspired by his late grandfather, High Chief Peter Maivia. “He would walk in, light up the room, the energy, the tattoos, the hair, the bod,” Johnson quips in the clip. “You can see just how deep the story is for me, because, in a way, when I bring Maui to life, I’m doing it in the spirit of my grandfather.”
No other major details about the project were shared, such as additional casting or a timeline for the film, with Johnson saying, “It’s still very early in the process” and “there’s so much more work to be done.”
Along with Johnson, the original voice cast for Moana featured Auliʻi Cravalho in the title role, Rachel House, Temuera Morrison, Jemaine Clement, Nicole Scherzinger, and Alan Tudyk (who did play Heihei, the chicken). The film also featured original music from Lin-Manuel Miranda, who earned a Best Original Song Oscar nomination for “How Far I’ll Go” (the song lost to La La Land’s “City of Stars,” while Moana lost Best Animated Feature Film to Zootopia).