The young woman in the picture above is Catherine Laga‘aia, the 17-year-old actress from Sydney Australia who has just been chosen to play the live-action version of Moana in Disney’s upcoming remake of the film.

The remake will retell the story of the popular 2016 animated feature with live-action actors. While Dwayne Johnson will reprise his role as the demigod Maui, the other parts have been recast — including Moana, who was originally voiced by Auliʻi Cravalho.

The new film is being directed by Thomas Kail, best known for directing Hamilton on Broadway and its subsequent film version on Disney+.


READ MORE: The Highs and Lows of Disney’s Live-Action Remakes

In a statement, Kail had this to say about Laga‘aia’s casting:

We Were the Lucky Ones. I am thrilled to have met Catherine, Rena [Owen, playing Gramma Tala], Frankie [Adams, Moana’s mom Sina] and John [Tui, who plays Moana’s father] 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, trio: Heihei is ready, too.

The live-action Moana is scheduled to premiere in theaters on July 10, 2026. Keep in mind that this is a totally distinct and separate project from Moana 2, the upcoming sequel to the original film, which also features Johnson alongside Cravalho in a new animated adventure. That movie is scheduled to premiere in November of this year. That means that yes, Disney has a Moana sequel and a Moana remake due in theaters less than two years apart.

The Moana remake is expected to start production later this summer.

ScreenCrush logo
Get our free mobile app

Movies You Never Realized Were Remakes

These movies are famous in their own right — but you might not realize they are remakes of earlier films.

More From ScreenCrush