“We’re honored to partner with @DisneyStudios to tell our story through the realm of music and dance,” Johnson wrote on Instagram
How far will Moana go? To live action!
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson — who famously voiced demigod Maui in the 2016 Disney animated film — announced the upcoming project on Monday during the company’s 2023 shareholder meeting.
“Deeply humbled to announce we’re bringing the beautiful story of MOANA to the live action big screen!” Johnson, 50, wrote in the caption of his announcement on Instagram.
“This story is my culture, and this story is emblematic of our people’s grace, mana and warrior strength,” he continued. “I wear our culture proudly on my skin and in my soul, and this once in a lifetime opportunity to reunite with MAUI, inspired by the spirit of my late grandfather, High Chief Peter Maivia, is one that runs very deep for me.”
“Much more to come, but until then / What can I saaaaaay except … 🪝,” he concluded, quoting the lyrics to Maui’s signature song “You’re Welcome” and adding an emoji that was a clear nod to the character’s magical hook.
In his Instagram video, Johnson was shown on the beaches of Oahu, Hawaii, with his two younger daughters — Tiana, 5 this month, and Jasmine, 7 — as he spoke about the culture and how it inspired Moana, before revealing the big movie news.
“We are so excited and happy to announce that a live-action reimagining of Moana is in the works,” the wrestler-turned-actor said, promising the return of the titular character plus “Gramma Tala, the music, the dance, Te Fiti, Pua the pig, the village” and “the beautiful, powerful ocean.”
“And one more, what’s that guy’s [name]?” he joked, snapping his fingers. “Oh! Yours truly, Heihei the chicken.”
“Just kidding — Heihei’s gonna be in it, but of course, Maui will be in it too,” Johnson said.
While they’re “still very early in the process” of bringing the story to life in live action, with “more work to be done,” Johnson is dedicated to “kick(ing) this journey off right.”
Jasmine and Tia then proceeded to bring a life-size god-worthy hook over to their dad.
After denying Johnson is Maui in real life, the girls changed their tune after he promised them ice cream: “Yes, you are!”
Starring Auli’i Cravalho in the titular role, the Moana animated film grossed $643 million worldwide following its November 2016 theatrical release.
Directed by John Musker and Ron Clements with a screenplay from Jared Bush, the film also featured a voice cast including Rachel House, Temuera Morrison, Jemaine Clement, Nicole Scherzinger and Alan Tudyk.
Moana features original songs written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Mark Mancina and Opetaia Foa’i, and was nominated for two Academy Awards: Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song.
The upcoming live-action film will be produced by Johnson, Dany Garcia and Hiram Garcia via their Seven Bucks Productions and Beau Flynn via Flynn Picture Co., according to a release.
Cravalho, 22, is also onboard as an executive producer, per the release, as is Bush, 48.