Auliʻi Cravalho Not Reprising Moana Role in Live-Action Version: 'Honored to Pass This Baton'
"I am truly honored to pass this baton to the next young woman of Pacific Island descent," said the actress, who serves as an executive producer on the new retelling
Auli'i Cravalho is searching for the next Moana.
In April, Disney confirmed that a live-action reimagining of its 2016 animated hit Moana is in the works, with original voice actors — Dwayne Johnson and Cravalho — as a producer and executive producer, respectively. No casting details were shared at the time.
In an Instagram video posted Friday, Cravalho, 22, confirmed that she will not be portraying Moana in the new version.
"When I was cast as Moana at 14 it wonderfully changed my life and started my career. In this live-action retelling I will not be reprising the role. I believe it is absolutely vital that casting accurately represents the characters and stories we want to tell. So, as an executive producer on the film, I cannot wait to help find the next actress to portray Moana's courageous spirit, undeniable wit and emotional strength."
"I am truly honored to pass this baton to the next young woman of Pacific Island descent, to honor our incredible Pacific peoples, cultures and communities that helped inspire her story. And I look forward to all the beautiful Pacific representation to come."
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In a press release about the Moana project last month, Cravalho said of the character, "She has had such a profound impact on how we think of Disney princesses. Moana's strength and perseverance are inspiring — to audiences around the world, to me and to everyone who helped bring her to life. I'm looking forward to sharing her story in a whole new way."
Johnson, 51, added in a statement of his own, "I'm deeply humbled and overcome with gratitude to bring the beautiful story of Moana to the live-action big screen."
"This story is my culture, and this story is emblematic of our people's grace and warrior strength," he continued. "I wear this culture proudly on my skin and in my soul, and this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reunite with Maui, inspired by the mana and spirit of my late grandfather, High Chief Peter Maivia, is one that runs very deep for me."
"I want to thank my partners at Disney for their strong commitment to this special endeavor, because there is no better world for us to honor the story of our people, our passion and our purpose than through the realm of music and dance, which is at the core of who we are as Polynesian people," Johnson added.
The hit 2016 Moana's voice cast also included Jemaine Clement, Temuera Morrison, Rachel House, Nicole Scherzinger and Alan Tudyk and featured original songs by Lin-Manuel Miranda.
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