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Disney Taps 'Hamilton' Director For Live-Action 'Moana' Remake

Home / News / Disney Taps 'Hamilton' Director For Live-Action 'Moana' Remake

By Jeffrey Harris on June 1, 2023 at 2:03 AM EDT

Disney has found its director for the upcoming planned live-action remake of the animated hit feature, "Moana," currently in the works. Per The Hollywood Reporter, the Tony Award-winning director of the smash-hit Broadway show, "Hamilton," Thomas Kail, has signed on to direct the upcoming feature for Walt Disney Studios.

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'Hamilton's' Thomas Kail To Direct Disney's 'Moana' Remake

Disney and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson announced the project earlier this year, with Johnson attached to both produce and star in the film, reprising his role from the 2016 CG-animated hit as Maui, the demigod of the wind and the sea. He is producing the movie along with his Seven Bucks Productions collaborators Dany Garcia and Hiram Garcia, and Beau Flynn via Flynn Picture Co. Auli'i Cravalho, who was the voice of Moana in the original film, is also executive producing the update.

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The new live-action version is written by Jared Bush ("Encanto," "Zootopia"), who co-wrote the script for the first movie with Dana Ledoux Miller. The animated film was directed by John Musker and Ron Clements, who also directed the 1989 Disney animated classic, "The Little Mermaid," recently updated by Disney this year with a new live-action movie from director Rob Marshall.

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Per Disney, the "Moana" remake will celebrate the Pacific Islanders' islands, communities, and traditions through the eyes of Princess Moana, who wants to carve her path. As previously reported by The Blast, Cravalho won't be reprising her role as the princess for the upcoming remake. However, despite the part of the titular heroine being recast, Cravalho will still be involved with the project to some degree.

The 2016 animated movie was a hit for Disney, grossing $248 million at the domestic box office and $643 million worldwide. The film was well-received by critics, scoring 95% on Rotten Tomatoes.

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Kail earned a Tony Award for best directing a musical for Lin-Manuel Miranda's "In the Heights" in 2008. He and Miranda reunited in 2015 for "Hamilton," which also won him the Tony Award for Best Direction again. The musical won 11 Tony Awards out of 16 total nominations. He later transitioned to television, directing five episodes of the acclaimed FX miniseries, "Fosse/Verdon." He also led the filmed stage version of "Hamilton" for Disney+, which was released in 2020. However, "Moana" will be Kail's big-screen feature directorial debut.

Kail's longtime collaborator, Miranda, also wrote the soundtrack for the original "Moana" with Opetaia Foa'a and Mark Mancina. Miranda also won a Grammy Award for Best Song Written for Visual Media for the film with "How Far I'll Go." It also earned an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song.

Disney won't be stopping live-action remakes of its animated productions anytime soon. The studio is also working on a live-action remake of "Lilo and Stitch," which will be helmed by Dean Fleischer Camp, the director of "Marcel the Shell With Shoes On." The live-action "Moana" remake is currently in the works. It does not yet have an official release date. It is streaming now on Disney+.

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