On Oct. 7, 2015, Disney revealed more details on its newest princess, Moana.
And, as expected, the Interwebs shook with joy.
The film aptly titled
“Moana,” of course follows its leading gal on her search for a fabled island in the South Pacific, as E! News reported. It’s set to be released in theaters Nov. 2016. *marks calendar*
Disney also introduced the world to the real girl who’s bringing Moana to life on screen, 14-year-old Auli’i Cravalho.
In about a year, Cravalho’s voice will be filling up theaters around the globe.
The film has already landed
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (who better suited to portray a demigod named Maui in the film than he?), who shared how thrilled he was about Cravalho’s casting on Instagram.
IT’S OFFICIAL: After months and months of worldwide casting calls, we’ve finally found our next DISNEY Princess… #MOANA. I’m pumped to welcome 14yr old @AuliiCravalho of Mililani, Hawaii to our project. What’s amazing about this story is that she didn’t think she was good enough so she never auditioned. Fortunately, one of our Oahu casting agents discovered her singing at a charity competition and the rest is history. * An awesome lesson to all young kids out there… work hard, have confidence in yourselves and never think you’re not good enough because you never know what the future holds. Congratulations Auli’i! Can’t wait to work with you and watch you bring this new Disney Princess to life. #YesThatsMeOnTheRight #HisNameIsMaui #HesADemiGod #AndHePutsMoanaInHerPlace #SoHeThinks #DisneyAnimation #MOANA #TimeToSing
A photo posted by therock (@therock) on
As Johnson explained above, Cravalho has virtually no big-time acting experience and was discovered by a casting agent in Oahu when she was singing at a charity competition. She went from an everyday teen to the buzz of the Internet overnight.
Maybe the coolest thing about Cravalho, though? She’s actually Hawaiian.
To find Moana, Disney auditioned hundreds of girls throughout the Pacific Islands before deciding Cravalho who is native Hawaiian was the “perfect match.”
I didn’t think I would have a chance,” Cravalho said. When I was little, I used to dance around the house singing at the top of my lungs. In my mind, that was performing, and I loved the feeling of it. But I never imagined being in a Disney movie, being Moana representing my culture in that way.”
It’s worth celebrating when films cast people of color as characters of color. Because, oddly enough, that doesn’t happen nearly as often as it should.
If you haven’t heard of it, there’s this thing Hollywood does called whitewashing, where characters that should be played by actors of color end up being played by white actors instead.