Disney has cast its lead in the Moana live-action remake and she’s got a very famous dad

Talent runs in the family!

Over a year since revealing that the beloved 2016 film Moana is getting a live-action remake, Disney has announced who will play the titular character in the upcoming movie.

Sharing the news on the Walt Disney Company’s official Instagram account on June 13, the entertainment conglomerate revealed that newcomer Catherine Laga’aia has been cast in the role originated by Auli’i Cravalho in the animated version — which is set for a sequel come November 27 this year.

Catherine Laga’aia and Auli’i Cravalho. Disney/Instagram.

“I’m really excited to embrace this character because Moana is one of my favourites,” the 17-year-old expressed in a press release.

“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.”

Laga’aia, who hails from Sydney, Australia, added: “I’m honoured to have an opportunity to celebrate Samoa and all Pacific Island peoples, and to represent young girls who look like me.”

The live-action Moana remake will be Laga’aia’s first feature film.

She broke into the industry in 2023, having appeared in Prime Video’s TV series The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart.

Who is Catherine Laga’aia’s famous father?

The Disney protégé follows in the footsteps of her father, singer and actor Jay Laga’aia.

The 60-year-old is known for his past hosting gig on Play School, and his role as Captain Typho in the Star Wars prequel films.

jay laga'aia daughter moana
Jay Laga’aia and Catherine. Instagram.

Taking to Instagram on June 13, Laga’aia shared that he and his family are “pleased” to reveal that his daughter will take on the Moana legacy.

Who else is in the live-action Moana remake?

Moana will also see Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson reprise his role as the demigod Maui.

Meanwhile, John Tui has been cast as Chief Yu. Joining him is Frankie Adams as Moana’s mother, Sina, and Rena Owen as Gramma Tala.

The film is set to kick off production in the coming months and will hit cinemas on July 10, 2026.

Stream Moana (2016) on Disney+ now.

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