After a long, anticipated wait, the fresh face of Disney’s live-action film 'Moana' was revealed as that of 17-year-old Sydney, Australia native Catherine Laga‘aia. She will join Dwayne Johnson, who will reprise his role as the beloved demigod Maui (in the 2016 animated version of the film).

Heihei, the ever-suffering chicken, will also be back.

“I’m really excited to embrace this character because Moana is one of my favorites,” said the 17-year-old Sydney, Australia, native in a 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. I’m honored to have an opportunity to celebrate Samoa and all Pacific Island peoples and to represent young girls who look like me.”

The live-action version, which starts production this summer, will not just tell a story; it will be a celebration of the islands, communities, and traditions of Pacific Islanders in a spectacular adventure.

It will be about a young woman eager to pave her own path. 

The cast also includes John Tuii of Auckland, New Zealand, as Moana’s father, Chief Tui; Frankie Adams as Moana’s strong-willed but playful mother, Sina; Rena Owen of Bay of Islands, New Zealand, as Gramma Tala.

The film is produced by Johnson, Dany Garcia and Hiram Garcia via their Seven Bucks Productions and Beau Flynn via FlynnPictureCo.

Auli‘i Cravalho, who voiced Moana in the 2016 film, is a co-executive producer on the film.

It is expected to be in theaters on July 10, 2026.

Nuy Cho is the executive producer of Spectrum News Hawaii. Read more of her stories here.