moana Fans are applauding Auli’i Cravalho, the young actress who voiced the title character of the 2016 animated film, for her “respectful” decision to step out of the film’s upcoming live-action remake.
A month after Dwayne Johnson announced that a live-action adaptation of the popular Disney film was “in the works,” Cravalho confirmed she would not be reprising her starring role.
“When I was cast as Moana when I was 14, it was a wonderful life change and my career started. In this live-action retelling, I will not be reprising the role,” she shared in an Instagram video posted on Friday (May 19).
“I think it’s absolutely critical that the cast accurately represent the characters and stories that we want to tell.”
However, Cravalho will continue to serve as an executive producer on the remake.
“I can’t wait to help find the next actress who portrays Moana’s brave spirit, undeniable wit and emotional strength,” she added.
“It is my great honor to pass this baton on to the next young woman of Pacific descent in honor of our incredible Pacific peoples, cultures and communities who inspired her story, and I look forward to the beautiful Pacific representation to come.”
moana told the story of an adventurous teenager who embarks on a dangerous mission to save her people. On her journey, she encounters Maui (voiced by Johnson), a powerful demigod who accompanies her on her quest.
Although the 22-year-old actress is a native Hawaiian, she is also of Chinese, Irish, Portuguese and Puerto Rican descent, and is more fair-skinned than the film’s portrayal of Moana, who appears to be darker-skinned and is of strictly Polynesian descent.
Several fans initially reacted to Cravalho’s post with disappointment that they wouldn’t hear her sing again, but praised her for the “understandable” solution.
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“Much respect to you, Auli’i,” commented one. “With the question of colorism in the Lilo and Stitch While it would be interesting to see the character played in a live-action remake by the same actress. I appreciate that you would like this version of the role to be given to someone who can authentically represent Moana.”
“Love her for that,” someone else wrote on Twitter, and a third simply responded with three applause emojis.
“Oh she’s so real I love her,” someone added. Another called her a “genius” due to her choice.
“See? That’s what more fair-skinned actors should be doing. Let’s not proceed with the colorism because you guys just want the opportunity,” someone replied.
A few weeks ago the live-action version of Lilo and StitchDisney’s successful franchise, about young Hawaiian girl Lilo and her alien pet Stitch, drew criticism from audiences, who accused its cast of “colorism” for hiring light-skinned actors to play some of the originally black cartoon characters.