Award-Winning Director of ‘Hamilton’ Chosen to Direct ‘Moana’ Live-Action Remake

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Moana and Maui

Credit: Disney

Despite the ongoing writer’s strike in Hollywood, Dwayne Johnson’s Moana remake is steadily making moves. Initially, Auli’i Cravalho announced she would not be returning to portray the character of Moana in the live-action remake. However, she stated she would return to an executive producer role for the upcoming remake. It has been announced that Thomas Kail, director of the heavily award-winning Hamilton stageplay, is now tasked with directing Moana.

thomas kail interview
Credit: Broadway World YouTube

Related: ‘Moana’ Star Confirms She Will Not Reprise Role for Live-Action Remake

Interestingly, despite Thomas Kail directing the filmed stage production of Hamilton for Disney+, Moana will serve as his directorial debut in cinema. Kail began to gain notoriety in Broadway circles after he was selected to lead Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights stageplay. This led to Kail winning a Tony for best direction of a musical.

From there, he reunited with Miranda for Hamilton in 2015, which won a staggering 11 of the 16 Tony awards it was nominated for. The Disney+ recorded film was also a smash hit for the streamer, netting an Emmy for Oustanding Variety Special (Pre-recorded).

Kail was then tasked with directing Grease: Live, bringing in more awards, as he secured an Emmys for producing and directing. He pivoted his attention to television, as he directed five episodes of the Fosse/Verdon miniseries on FX, leading to another Emmy nomination.

Thomas Kail has shown he is a whiz behind the director’s chair after earning awards for stageplays, filmed stageplays, and television shows. He could complete yet another facet of directorial awards if Moana shines in the same manner that the animated film did.

Credit: Disney+

Dwayne Johnson is returning to portray Maui, though the actor and producer has stated the live-action remake of Moana will be a reimagining. We would imagine it would certainly have to be so, considering Johnson looks nothing like the character’s animated version. Then again, they might add more tattoos and a wig to the man to make that connection.

Johnson’s Seven Bucks Productions is producing the remake with Dany Garcia and Hiram Garcia. Jared Bush also wrote the screenplay for the remake along with Dana Ledoux Miller.

The remake of Moana is still “meant to, like its animated predecessor, celebrate the islands, communities, and traditions of Pacific Islanders as seen through the eyes of a young woman eager to pave her own path.”

Annaleigh Ashford and Josh Groban with the chorus of Sweeney Todd
Annaleigh Ashford and Josh Groban stand with the chorus of Sweeney Todd

Related: Josh Groban Replaces Johnny Depp in His Darkest Role: How Did He Do In ‘Sweeney Todd’?

There has been no casting announcement yet about who will be portraying the titular star, but Cravalho stated she would not return as the character is meant to be around 16 years old, which should be celebrated in this new take. Whatever happens, the remake has landed a great director who knows their way around musicals. Kail has also been garnering plenty of praise recently for his take on Sweeney Todd, which stars Josh Groban. We are quite excited to see what Kail can do for this live-action remake.

Are you excited about the Moana remake? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

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