Catherine Laga‘aia to Star in Lead Role of Moana Live-Action Remake

Live-action 'Moana' casts Catherine Laga'aia (Walt Disney Pictures)

Exciting news, Moana fans! Just weeks after making known the first trailer for Disney’s animated sequel Moana 2, the House of Mouse has dropped another bombshell about the highly anticipated live-action remake.

Tonight, Walt Disney Studios took to Twitter/X to announce that 17-year-old Australian newcomer Catherine Laga’aia will step into the role of Moana in the upcoming film, slated to begin filming this summer. Here’s the announcement:

Alongside Laga’aia, the cast is shaping up to be a star-studded affair. John Tui will portray Moana’s father, Chief Tui; Frankie Adams is set to play Moana’s mother, Sina; and Rena Owen will bring Moana’s Gramma Tala to life on screen. Joining them is none other than Dwayne Johnson, reprising his role as Maui from the original animated hit, as confirmed earlier this year.

Catherine Laga’aia to Headline ‘Moana’ (Walt Disney Pictures)

“I’m thrilled to take on this role because Moana is one of my absolute favorites,” shared Laga‘aia in a statement post-announcement. “My roots trace back to Fa‘aala, Palauli, in Savai‘i through my grandfather, and Leulumoega Tuai on ‘Upolu through my grandmother. I’m deeply honored to represent Samoa and all Pacific Island cultures, especially young girls who share my heritage.”

Meanwhile, Auli’i Cravalho, t (he original voice of Moana, has already passed the torch to her successor with words of encouragement. Here’s her heartfelt message:

Director Thomas Kail also expressed his excitement about the cast, saying, “I am beyond thrilled to have met Catherine, Rena, Frankie, and John during the casting process. It’s a humbling opportunity, and I cannot wait for us all to be on set together. Catherine and Dwayne make an incredible team to lead this adventure, and let’s not forget Heihei—he’s ready too.”

Mark your calendars for July 10, 2026, when Disney’s live-action Moana sails onto screens worldwide. Get ready to drive into this epic oceanic journey—we’re all in for a thrilling ride!