Disney taps Hamilton director Thomas Kail to helm the live-action remake of Moana starring Dwayne Johnson.
Disney‘s live-action adaptation of Moana gets more magical by the moment after welcoming the Tony Award-winning director of Broadway’s Hamilton, Thomas Kail, to the high-profile project. Disney announced its plans for the live-action reimagining with the help of Dwayne Johnson, who plays Demigod Maui in 2016’s animated original. Johnson will reprise his role in Kail’s live-action adaptation and produce through his Seven Bucks Productions alongside Dany Garcia and Hiram Garcia. Beau Flynn also produces via Flynn Pictures Co. Jared Bush, who wrote the animated original, returns to pen the remake.
Set in Ancient Polynesia, Moana tells the story of what happens when a terrible curse incurred by the Demigod Maui reaches Moana’s island. Answering the Ocean’s call to seek out the Demigod and set things right, the young woman reconnects with her ancestors and discovers she’s more powerful than she ever imagined.
According to Disney, Kail’s version is meant to “celebrate the islands, communities, and traditions of Pacific Islanders, as seen through the eyes of a young woman eager to pave her own path.”
Although Kail directed Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights in 2008 and Miranda’s Hamilton in 2015, Moana is technically his first narrative directorial feature. Moana infuses musical elements with mythical adventure, making Kail a natural choice to helm the live-action adaptation.
Beyond Broadway, Kail shot Grease: Live, earning two Emmys for directing and producing. He also filmed five episodes of FX’s Fosse/Verdon, for which he was nominated for an Emmy for outstanding direction. He also met his now-wife on the set of Fosse/Verdon, Michelle Williams.
Johnson, thrilled to return to the world of Moana, said, “I’m deeply humbled and overcome with gratitude to bring the beautiful story of Moana to the live-action big screen. This story is my culture, and this story is emblematic of our people’s grace and warrior strength. I wear this culture proudly on my skin and in my soul, and this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reunite with Maui, inspired by the mana and spirit of my late grandfather, High Chief Peter Maivia, is one that runs very deep for me. I want to thank my partners at Disney for their strong commitment to this special endeavor, because there is no better world for us to honor the story of our people, our passion and our purpose than through the realm of music and dance, which is at the core of who we are as Polynesian people.”
What do you think about Kail directing Disney’s live-action version of Moana? Is the House of Mouse getting out of control with its live-action remake plans? Feel free to share your opinion in the comments.