Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson Will Lend His Voice to Disney’s ‘Moana’
Dwayne Johnson has spent the past decade splitting his time between action movies and family fare, so it was only a matter of time before everyone’s favorite muscleman was recruited to voice an animated Disney character. After all, ‘Furious 7’ is out next year and he’s got to maintain his precarious balance between cinematic ass-kicker extraordinaire and consistent purveyor children’s entertainment. At least ‘Moana,’ the latest film from the directors of ‘The Little Mermaid,’ has the pedigree to properly balance out the truly insane ‘Fast and Furious’ franchise. It would take three or four normal family movies to reset the internal scales that seem to drive Johnson’s every career choice.
According to The Wrap, Johnson is currently in talks to voice Maui, the Hawaiian demigod who assists the title character on her perilous journey across the Pacific ocean. The original report promises “enormous sea creatures, breathtaking underworlds and ancient folklore,” but really, all we want from this thing is a handful of new songs. It’s time for the ‘Frozen’-addled children of America to get addicted to another, warmer soundtrack. It’s time to let go of “Let It Go.”
We still don’t know much about ‘Moana’ outside of the basic premise and a beautiful piece of concept art (that doesn’t even reflect the film’s CG animation). We don’t even know if this thing is going to be a musical! But we do know that we’d happily pay double for our tickets if it meant getting to hear The Rock belt out original showtunes. Seriously, what’s the point in hiring two acclaimed Disney animated musical veterans like Ron Clements and John Musker is you don’t pack this thing with songs? After all, the main criticism leveled at ‘Frozen’ a year after its release is that it doesn’t have enough songs. Parents demand more variety in the songs that their children incorrectly sing over and over again!
But we digress. Johnson’s potential casting reflects the path Disney has been taking with many of their most recent animated movies. The lead character is a girl, usually a princess, but she’s backed up by a cool male character (and usually an animal sidekick). It’s Disney playing to all of their bases and it’s a formula that worked well for ‘Tangled’ and ‘Frozen.’ That may seem a little crass (and yeah, it’s definitely filmmaking with one eye on marketing), but it’s important to note that Disney is also making racially diverse movies that explore various cultures and feature layered, heroic female characters in a society that needs them. ‘Moana’ seems like another step in Disney’s current plan, which is to siphon billions of dollars from your wallet by embracing everyone. And now, that includes Dwayne Johnson fans, i.e., the entire population of the continental United States.
‘Moana’ will open on November 23, 2016.