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“It’s a little bit overwhelming, but oh, so much pride,” she said.
The 14-year-old is adjusting to the global recognition, but Moana’s movie producer says she’s a natural.
“It was when we saw and heard Auli‘i’s audition. All of us looked at each other — Ron, John and I — looked at each other and started smiling, going ‘I think we found her,\'” said Osnan Shurer.
“It is with all my heart that I say I am thrilled to be playing the role of Moana. We have now done a couple of recording sessions and I have never had so much fun in my entire life,” Cravalho said.
Directors Ron Clements and John Musker, behind beloved Disney classics “Aladdin” and “The Little Mermaid,” said Cravalho is the “perfect Moana.”
The new movie will not have a love story. Instead, it is a coming-of-age story that follows a fearless teen who sails out on a daring mission.
“She’s not out looking for her prince or anything like that. She’s out connecting to her deeper culture,” Musker said.
The film’s creators stressed the importance of keeping the movie historically and culturally true.
“For us, it’s a lot of inclusion in making sure in the act of storytelling, bringing in experts on the culture and history. We’ve spent time with a master tattoo artist, time with weavers, choreographers, dancers, dug deep into what people ate back then,” said Schurer.
“There’s certainly a lot of comedy and adventure and a lot of fun in the movie, but there’s also, hopefully, a real depth and deep emotion,” Clements said. “Some of the things that we experienced in terms of our trips to the South Pacific and what we came away with, we’re hoping that this movie, people could see the movie and experience some of what we experienced, and feel some of the emotions that we felt. That’s a goal of the movie.”
It’s a lot of pressure, but the teenager, who also juggles AP classes at Kamehameha Schools, is confident.
“I didn’t really take professional singing lessons, although I was a part of the school choir, church choir, and I was in a few home backyard plays, which I would put on my resume, because that was important,” she said with a smile. “I go to Kamehameha Schools. I’m part of concert glee now. That’s a lot of responsibility in itself. It’s fun to be able to sing with my peers that also love their culture so much. We sing Hawaiian songs and hymns. Overall, it’s a great place to be.”
“What would you say to those who are too scared to follow her dreams?” KHON2 asked.
“To those young men and women, go for it. There’s nothing that’s out of your reach. It may seem far, but you can grab it. It’s really something that’s in your head,” she said.
Cravalho admits she’s torn about her favorite Disney princess (besides Moana, of course).
“I’d say my favorite Disney character was Mulan. Just because she is… actually my favorite Disney princess is Tiana from Princess and the Frog,” she said. “No, no, no, I love Mulan too, actually. Mulan, she really brought honor to her family and that’s something that, especially in this role, it really does honor so much of my awesome culture I have grown up in.”
Moana also stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
It’s scheduled to arrive in theaters November 2016.
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