Moana stars new comer Auli’i Cravalho and opens in theaters today! I feel like we have have been waiting forever. This past week while attending the #MoanaEvent press junket I had the opportunity to sit down with the talent and movie makers of Moana. I am excited to share some of the things Auli’i had to share about voicing Disney’s first Polynesian princess.
Auli’i is as charming and humble as she is talented. She was asked what it was like to hear officially that she got the part of Moana.
She shared that she was tricked a bit by those in casting. Auli’i was called in for one more audition where she would need to ‘ad lib’. She shared that directors said “You know, could you say it a little bit more happy, like for instance if we gave you the role, how would you react?” “And I was like, “Okay! Wow!” I gave forth my best shot. And that’s when they told me I was gonna be in MOANA. Which was I was crying and I was so happy. And just thrilled that, first of all, they thought that I was like worthy enough for this role. I could never imagine in my wildest dreams that I would be voicing this character. But I was just so happy and blessed. And then I told my mom. And then I had another cry fest. So. It was really good.”
Auli’i shared that she was “a little wary” about how the Polynesian culture would be portrayed. “Because I think anyone who hears that a movie’s going to inspired by their culture, they want it to be done right. And we don’t want any misrepresentation, we want to make sure that what we feel our culture’s about, that it’s portrayed correctly on the screen.” She added that everything from dances to music was authentic and done right. She describes Maui’s mythology and the folklore as her bedtime stories and that voyaging across the open ocean is something she takes deep pride in. It is clear in listening to her talk that she is protective of her culture and that she is so happy with how Disney portrayed it in Moana.
One interviewer pointed out that her son didn’t see Moana as just another princess movie. Auli’i agreed! “I think the underlying theme of Moana is something everyone can take away…..But being strong doesn’t mean that you don’t have your weaker moments, you can’t be as connected emotionally either. Moana is all of that, and I think her journey of finding herself is something that everyone can take away from, girl or boy.”
Auli’i was congratulated on being the youngest Disney princess to date at 15 years old.
“Yes, thank you! That’s pretty incredible. We are the same age as the character, my birthday is on November 22nd and that film comes out on the 23rd. And Moana’s 16 in the film. It kinda just worked out like that. I’m really proud of the character that Disney has portrayed on screen.”
Auli’i revealed that her own mom was given a line in the film. Listen closely, it is a quick line about coconuts. She apparently had a lot of fun and joked about needing to run lines with Auli’i.
My favorite moment was when someone asked what advice did Auli’i have for kids trying to find their way.
Auli’i had great advice that was wise beyond her fifteen years. “When I was thinking about show business and I was thinking about the thought of Hollywood, I was like, okay, you know what, I have the thought. Now I’m gonna be serious about it. And I’m not gonna even set my hopes too high. And so I focused myself on schooling. Which is really important. Don’t get me wrong, I focused on science and I was planning on continuing my career there. And when MOANA popped up, it was in my freshman year of high school. And I remember thinking okay, I sing pretty well. I’m an okay actress. I mean, my backyard plays are directed and produced by me. Thank you very much.
But I didn’t know how I would add up to my competition. I had seen wonderful auditions on YouTube. And I put myself down. I thought, you know what, it’s fine. What could I possibly give that the directors haven’t already seen? But something happened. And I thought to myself, why don’t I just try? I’m gonna get older and I’m gonna say to myself, oh, maybe not.
And I realized that all that time that my mom spent, thing, okay, just try it, you never know what’s gonna come up. I was totally twisting that around in the way that she wouldn’t want me to. And I think she was away at work. And I was at school. And I thought to myself, I want to make her proud. And so when I had the first audition in Hawaii……she just said, “I’m so proud of you”And I was like, I haven’t even done anything. I’m not even like solid on these lines, do I know all the words to my song? But she was still so proud of me. And so that’s what encouraged me to continue on my journey. And I hope that anyone else just goes out on that limb because they don’t know what life has in store for them. And please, please don’t put yourself down. Because there is so much more potential than you even know.”
Thank you Auli’i for taking the time to share some of your sunshine with us. I honestly do not think Disney could have picked a more perfect person to play Moana!
Moana opens just in time for Thanksgiving and is sure to be packed! Buy your Moana Movie tickets ahead with Fandango to skip the lines.