Disney Casts Its ‘Moana’ in Newcomer Auli’i Cravalho (Video)

The 14-year-old native Hawaiian to star opposite Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in animated adventure film

Last Updated: October 7, 2015 @ 3:18 PM

Hawaiian actress Auli’i Cravalho has been cast in the title role of Disney’s latest animated film, “Moana,” the studio announced Wednesday.

The 14-year-old newcomer will voice the role of an adventurous teenager opposite Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in the film that will be released in 2016.

The big-screen adventure follows a spirited and fearless teenager named Moana (voiced by Cravalho) who, with help from demi-god Maui (Johnson), sets out on a daring mission to prove herself a master wayfinder.

Cravalho was cast after a search that spanned the Pacific Islands, as the film’s Hawaii casting director remembered her from an unrelated audition she did as part of an a cappella group, which had been submitted for a talent showcase for a charity.

“Auli’i demonstrated a certain fearlessness in her auditions and call-backs,” director John Musker said in a statement. “She has a playful, mischievous wit. She can project vulnerability, she doesn’t seem intimidated at all by the challenges ahead, and her Polynesian background has helped shape her connection to family, hard work and music. These are all qualities she shares with Moana.”

“Moana” hits theaters on Nov. 23, 2016.

Watch the video of Cravalho receiving the news of her landing the role above.