Published on June 13th, 2024 | by Adrian Gunning

Australia’s Catherine Laga‘aia Cast as Moana in Disney’s Live-Action “Moana”

Lagaaia Joins Dwayne Johnson, Who Reprises His Role as the Beloved Maui, in the Oceanic Adventure Heading to Australian cinemas July 9, 2026

Production Kicks Off Later This Year

Catherine Lagaaia will be voyaging to Motunui and beyond as the adventurous teenager who sails out on a daring mission to save her people in Disneys upcoming live-action Moana.” “Im really excited to embrace this character because Moana is one of my favorites, said the 17-year-old Sydney, Australia, native. My grandfather comes from Faaala, Palauli, in Savaii. And my grandmother is from Leulumoega Tuai on the main island of Upolu in Samoa. Im honored to have an opportunity to celebrate Samoa and all Pacific Island peoples, and to represent young girls who look like me.


The cast also includes Auckland, New Zealander John Tui as Moanas no-nonsense father, Chief Tui; Samoan-New Zealand actress Frankie Adams portrays Moanas playful and strong-willed mother, Sina; and Rena Owen, who hails from Bay of Islands, NZ, was cast as the revered Gramma Tala. Previously announced, Dwayne Johnson, who voiced larger-than-life demigod Maui in the 2016 animated version of the film, will reprise his role.

Releasing in Australian cinemas on July 9, 2026, Moana is directed by Thomas Kail, who helmed Hamilton on Broadway and Disney+, Grease Live and the first and last episodes of Hulus lauded limited series We Were the Lucky Ones. Said Kail, I am thrilled to have met Catherine, Rena, Frankie and John through this casting process. I am humbled by this opportunity, and I cannot wait to all be on set together. And theres no better pair to be in a canoe with than Catherine and Dwayneactually, trio: Heihei is ready, too.

Moana will bring to life in a whole new way the story of a young woman eager to pave her own path. Celebrating the islands, communities and traditions of Pacific Islanders in a spectacular adventure, the production begins filming this summer. The new feature film is produced by Johnson, Dany Garcia and Hiram Garcia via their Seven Bucks Productions and Beau Flynn via FlynnPictureCo. Lin-Manuel Miranda, who wrote the original songs, will also serve as producer. Executive producers include Scott Sheldon of FlynnPictureCo., Aulii Cravalho, who voiced Moana in the 2016 film, and Charles Newirth. Jared Bush and Dana Ledoux Miller have been tapped for the project. Bush, a veteran of Disney Animation, wrote the screenplay for 2016Moana, and Miller is a Samoan writer who created NetflixThai Cave Rescue and co-founded the non-profit Pasifika Entertainment Advancement Komiti (PEAK).

About the Author'

Adrian lives in Melbourne Australia and has a huge passion for gaming, technology and pop culture. He recently finished his a Bachelor of Journalism and is currently focusing on games journalism. When not writing and playing video games, Adrian can be found in Comics 'R' Us debating the pros of the DC Universe and cons of the Marvel Universe.

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