Tia Carrere Reveals The One Thing Lilo & Stitch’s Remake Should Fix And How She Would Like To Be Involved

Tia Carrere in True Lies and Lilo & Stitch image with Lilo and Nani
(Image credit: 20th Century Fox/Disney)

In recent years, Disney has been revisiting a lot of its beloved animated projects and reimagining them into live-action movies, and this has been a major success for the studio. Whether or not all of them have impressed Disney fans, releases like The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast consistently have been major box office draws. Among the next live-action movies from the studio is reportedly Lilo & Stitch, and the voice of Nani from the original, Tia Carrere, shared her thoughts on a potential remake as the movie turns 20 years old. 

Back in 2020, it was announced that a live-action Lilo & Stitch movie was in the works with Crazy Rich Asians’ director Jon M. Chu attached to direct and the producers behind 2019’s Aladdin also involved (Chu has since departed). When CinemaBlend spoke to Carrere about Lilo & Stitch in honor of the original movie’s 20th anniversary, she shared one element missing from the original film that the remake could fix:  

I wish I could have sung more songs… I wanna do a racking guitar song. There's so many great songs [on the soundtrack] and I got to do that on my Grammy-winning Hawaiian music, so it's fine. It worked out all OK in the end, but I would've liked to have seen more local people, including myself, performing on the soundtrack. I had my one little scratch track of ‘Aloha Oe’ that I sang at eight o'clock in the morning without anything to it, but it was poignant and pure and I'm just glad that I was included with that.

Tia Carrere was pivotal to capturing authenticity to Lilo & Stitch, actually suggesting that one memorable scene in the movie include “Aloha Oe,” which she sings in the film as Nani while she and Lilo are in a hammock late in the movie. The actress also helped with some dialogue to keep it authentic to Hawaiian culture, which she grew up within. She applauded the filmmakers for promoting “true inclusion” within the film by listening to her and the other Hawaiian people involved in the movie. 

But as Tia Carrere points out, the Lilo & Stitch soundtrack left something to be desired when it comes to representation. The movie does include two major songs by Hawaiian people performed by the Kamehameha Schools Children's Chorus, “He Mele No Lilo” and “Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride.” But otherwise, there’s a lot of Elvis Presley originals, a cover of “Burning Love” by Wynonna Judd and “Can’t Help Falling In Love” by A*Teens. 

As Carrere mentioned, she’s a singer herself and wishes either she or more Hawaiian people were chosen to sing more for the soundtrack rather than the non-Hawaiian two artists attached to Lilo & Stitch singles instead. When speaking about the potential remake, Carrere, who memorably appeared in Wayne’s World and True Lies, also spoke about perhaps having a cameo in the live-action version. In her words: 

Yeah, I think that'd be amazing. I could play like an old Tutu with a muumuu. I'm gonna see if I can make my way in. I think that would be great if we did cameos just for the real cinephiles to go ‘Oh my gosh, that’s Nani, that’s David’. You know what I mean? I will definitely reach out to [Jon M. Chu] and ask him.

During the interview, Carrere went right into the voice of an older character she felt she could cameo with. If Lilo & Stitch does get that remake after all, it wouldn’t be out of the ordinary for Tia Carrere or David voice actor Jason Scott Lee to cameo. In the 2020 Mulan remake, the original Mulan actress Ming-Na Wen made a cameo

Hopefully we truly did inspire Carrere to reach out about being part of the remake. In celebration of Lilo & Stitch’s anniversary, you can revisit the classic animated film with a Disney+ subscription

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.