Disney making waves with announcement of a new princess

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Kristina Wyman's picture
Julia Petrillo

Disney’s reveal of 14-year-old Auli’i Cravalho voicing Disney’s newest princess was marked on October 7, according to the Huffington Post, Moana. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson will be Cravalho’s co-star in the upcoming animation.

The Huffington Post reported that Disney had auditioned hundreds of people in the Pacific Ocean region to play Moana. Disney had an open casting call in hopes to find the perfect match for Moana’s voice. They were looking for someone fearless, curious and with the talent to sing. Cravahlo was the last audition, and landed the part.

Directed by John Musker and Ron Clements, Moana is the musical adventure comedy of a girl who sails to an island that is mythed about. Set 2,000 years ago in the South Pacific, Moana Waialiki is the daughter of a high chief in an island where voyaging is not allowed. Pacific Business News writes that Moanas goal is to reconnect with the ancient art of navigation. Moanas name means ocean in Maori. Alongside Moana is the demi-god Maui, played by Johnson. Moana must use her skills as a navigator, and the help of Maui, to reach the island.

US Magazine reports that aside from Moana, some other characters are Moana’s father Tui, Moana’s sidekicks Pua the Pig and Hei-Hei the rooster and the villain—a yet to be name “lava witch.”

Moana is the first of the Disney princesses voiced by a young woman, not an adult. According to Vox.com, the last three official Disney princess have been voiced by adult woman: Tiana from The Princess and the Frog is voiced by Anika Noni Rose who is 43, Merida from Brave is voiced by 39-year-old Kelly Macdonald and Rapunzel from Tangled is played by Mandy Moore, who is 31.

Not only is Moana the first Disney princess voiced by a young woman, according to Vox.com, but she is also the first Disney princess of Polynesian descent. Moana being of Polynesian descent is also significant because that makes her the fifth Disney princess of color after Tiana.

Disney is striving for authenticity in their new movie; Auli’i Cravalho is a native of Hawaii, she is from Oahu, a district of Honolulu County. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson also comes from a Polynesian background as he is Samoan.

Pacific Business News writes that the filmmakers plan to make Moana as culturally accurate as possible, the cast has visited Pacific islands such as Fiji, Tahiti and Samoa, to avoid westernization of the movie.

The film is set to be released on November 23, 2016.

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