I was excited for the full lineup of interviews with the cast and filmmakers of Disney’s 56th Animated feature film Moana including newcomer and rising star Auli’i Cravalho. She was our first interview of the day and she was a ray of sunshine as she entered the room.
Landing the Role of Moana
Auli’i was 14 years old when she auditioned for the role of Moana. It was her first time auditioning in front of people besides her mom. She received a call back for a second audition and they asked her to do more ad-lib. However this time they asked her to act more happy, they said to her “if we gave you the role, how would you react?” Auli’i gave it her best shot and that’s when they told her she was gonna be in Moana.
Here is a video of when she was told she had landed the role of Moana.
At 16 years old, Auli’i is the youngest Disney princess and in the film Moana is also 16. She admits this is something she can’t quite wrap her mind around yet and realizes she is young and has so much more to learn and grow. Auli’i is really proud of how Disney has portrayed Moana. She feels that not only will people look up to Moana but people will begin looking up to her too.
Auli’i urges kids who are trying to find their way to just try it and go for it; go out on that limb because you don’t know what life has in store for you. She continued to say “don’t to put yourself down because there is so much more potential than you even know.” Making her mom proud is also what encourages her to continue on her journey.
Moana and Auli’i
The character of Moana was actually designed before she had even stepped into the role. When Moana needs to get the job done she puts up her hair, which is something that Auli’i did a lot in the recording booth. Auli’i touches her hair when she is nervous and that was also incorporated into Moana’s mannerisms.
Aul’i is from Hawaii and attends an all Hawaiian High School. She said that her life hasn’t changed too much. She is keeping up with her studies and doing homework in the car, on a plane, and in a hotel room. Her mom tries to find things for her to do to keep her normal. Auli’i has a schedule where she can call her friends and Skype with them because she realized that she missed the camaraderie of her classmates and took the little things for granted.
It was a challenge for Auli’i to get into the mindset of being scared, strong or sad because she normally has a happy demeanor. Her mom was there during the recording sessions to help her get through the moments where she felt challenged. When she was done recording those lines she would have tears in her eyes and ask to stop production. She would open the door and her Mom would be right there to give her hugs and help her recover.
Voicing an animated character is something that Auli’i had never done before and this threw her a curve ball. She was not recording lines with Dwayne Johnson and at first she found this difficult. Writer Jared Bush and Directors, Ron Clements and John Musker, were there to help her though the entire process.
What’s Next for Auli’i
She has caught the acting bug and would like to continue pursuing roles in Hollywood. However, she also loves Science and was enrolled in a Science and Molecular Cell Biology program. She was researching how sunscreen is harmful to natural reefs and oceans. Auli’i wants to create a sunscreen lotion that is better for us and better for the environment, she hopes to continue this research in the future.
It was such a pleasure interviewing Auli’i, she is a bright young woman with a great outlook on life. She is beautiful on the inside and out. This certainly is not the last time we will hear about her accomplishments.
Check out these other Moana posts from the press junket.
- The Spirit of Polynesia Sails into Hollywood for the Moana Premiere
- Go on an Adventure with Moana – Film review of Moana
- Interview with Dwayne Johnson (Maui)
- Interview with Lin-Manuel Miranda (Music by)
“Moana,” is about an adventurous teenager who sails out on a daring mission to save her people. During her journey, Moana (voice of Auli’i Cravalho) meets the once-mighty demigod Maui (voice of Dwayne Johnson), who guides her in her quest to become a master wayfinder.
Maui is voiced by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, he is a demigod—half god, half mortal that wields a magical fishhook that allows him to shapeshift into all kinds of animals and pull up islands from the sea.
Together, they sail across the open ocean on an action-packed voyage, encountering enormous monsters and impossible odds, and along the way, Moana fulfills the ancient quest of her ancestors and discovers the one thing she’s always sought: her own identity.
MOANA reaches the shores on November 23rd!
Visit the official MOANA website
Disclaimer: Disney invited 5 Minutes for Mom (and me) to Los Angeles to attend the Moana Press Junket. All expenses have been paid by Disney, but all opinions are always 100% my own.
Photo credit to Louise Bishop.