Disney taps Hamilton director for live-action ‘Moana’ remake

Disney has found a director for the upcoming live-action remake of the hit animated film.Moana”, is currently being prepared. Grayling The Hollywood ReporterTony Award-winning director of the hit Broadway show “Hamilton,” Thomas Kail has signed on to direct the upcoming film from Walt Disney Studios.

“Hamilton’s” Thomas Kail to direct Disney’s “Moana” remake

Disney and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson announced the project earlier this year, with Johnson both producing and starring in the film, reprising his role as Maui, the demigod of wind and sea, from the 2016 CG-animated hit. The film is produced by Seven Bucks Productions with Dany Garcia and Hiram Garcia and Beau Flynn through Flynn Picture Co. Auli’i Cravalho, who voiced Moana in the original film, is also executive producing the update.

The new live-action version is written by Jared Bush (“Encanto,” “Zootopia”), who co-wrote the screenplay for the first film 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,” which Disney recently updated with a new live-action film from director Rob Marshall.


According to Disney, the “Moana” remake celebrates the islands, communities and traditions of the Pacific Islanders through the eyes of Princess Moana, who wants to carve her own path. As previously reported by The Blast, Cravalho will not be reprising her role as the princess in the upcoming remake. However, despite the recasting of the titular heroine, Cravalho remains involved in the project to some extent.

The 2016 animated film was a hit for Disney, grossing $248 million domestically and $643 million worldwide. The film was well received by critics, achieving a score of 95% Rotten tomatoes.

In 2008, Kail won a Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical for Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “In the Heights.” In 2015, he reunited with Miranda in “Hamilton,” for which he won the Tony Award for Best Director again. The musical won 11 Tony Awards out of 16 nominations. He later transitioned to television, directing five episodes of the acclaimed FX miniseries ‘Fosse/Verdon’. He also helmed the stage version of “Hamilton” for Disney+, which was released in 2020. However, “Moana” will be Kail’s big screen directorial debut.

Live Action Moana Announcement

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

Disney will soon stop making live-action adaptations of its animated productions. The studio is also working on a live-action remake of “Lilo and Stitch,” which will be helmed by “Marcel with Shells” director Dean Fleischer Camp. The live-action “Moana” remake is currently in the works. There is no official release date yet. Now streaming on Disney+.

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