Disney's newest lead, a Mililani teen, talks about role - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Disney's newest lead, a Mililani teen, talks about role

Aulii Cravalho has scored the lead role in Disney's newest animated feature. Aulii Cravalho has scored the lead role in Disney's newest animated feature.
Aulii Cravalho, the voice for Disney's Moana in the movie by the same name, poses with a friend after a news conference Monday. Aulii Cravalho, the voice for Disney's Moana in the movie by the same name, poses with a friend after a news conference Monday.
'Moana' will be released in theaters in November 2016. Image Source: Disney Animated Studios 'Moana' will be released in theaters in November 2016. Image Source: Disney Animated Studios
KO OLINA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

The character of Moana in Disney’s newest animated feature is “high spirited, a bit of a dreamer,” and someone who feels a deep connection to her culture, says director John Musker.

Kind of like the Mililani teen chosen for the voice role.

Aulii Cravalho, a Kamehameha Schools student, made her first public appearance Monday since it was announced she had snagged the lead for “Moana,” set to hit theaters in November.

In a news conference at Disney’s Aulani resort, the 14-year-old Cravalho said she was “thrilled” to be chosen for the role, and to represent “the people of the islands.”

She said since she was announced for the role she's received supportive comments from people across the state.

"The response has been amazing," said Cravalho, who described herself as a normal teen, who likes to read and go to the beach. "It's a lot of pride."

"Moana" producer Osnat Shurer told reporters that hundreds of girls and women auditioned for film's lead role, “and we found here right here in Hawaii, on the island of Oahu.”

“We needed somebody who could embody the qualities of Moana, the fearlessness, the heart, the humor.”

Cravalho has said that she auditioned for the role on a whim, not thinking she was good enough to get the role.

A local casting agent discovered Cravalho, and Disney flew her out to Los Angeles for an in-studio audition, which she nailed. She’ll perform alongside Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson in “Moana,” the story of a young girl from 2,000 years ago who sets sail to fulfill her ancestors' quest.

Her teachers at Kamehameha Schools-Kapalama are thrilled at the pick, but not surprised.

Cravalho is in her first year as a soprano in the acclaimed Kamehameha Concert Glee Club.

Kamehameha Schools teacher Kalua Tataipu told Hawaii News Now last week that Disney made the right choice in picking Cravalho.

"She speaks very clearly. She's articulate. Her thought process is complete," said Tataipu. "And it's reflected when she sings also. She sings the same way."

Cravalho has already started recording for the role -- production is being worked around her academic schedule. "Moana" is set to hit movie theaters Nov. 23, 2016.

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