Walt Disney Animation Studios has been on an absolute roll these past few years, with titles like Tangled, Wreck-It Ralph, Frozen, and Big Hero 6 hitting big with critics and at the box office - and they look to continue that streak with Moana, a new in-development feature inspired the the Pacific Island cultures of ancient Oceania. Of course, a big step in keeping the good stretch going is making sure that talented people are involved in making the movie, and the project has just done that by officially signing Dwayne Johnson on to play a lead role.
We actually first started hearing world about the wrestler-cum-actor's involvement with the new animated Disney film back in December, but Johnson took to his personal Instagram account today and let the world know that he is now 100% committed to Moana. He made the announcement with a special picture taken at Walt Disney Animation Studios, and a fun caption hinting at certain exciting aspects of his part:
That's right, folks. Apparently Moana is not only a musical, but one that will have Dwayne Johnson do a bit of crooning as well. And while your first instinct might be to think that this giant, athletic guy might not have much of a singing voice, the truth is that he actually does - and he can strum the guitar a bit too!
Moana, which is being prepared for release next year, tells the the story of it's titular heroine, a born navigator who makes the decision to take a raft on a long journey to a fabled island. Joing Moana on this trip - and likely being voiced by Dwayne Johnson - is a demi-god named Maui. Along the way they will encounter sea monsters, underworlds, and all other sorts of danger that should make the film a rousing adventure.
Ron Clements and John Musker, best known for their work on hand-drawn Disney classics like The Little Mermaid and Aladdin, are writing and directing the feature, and it will actually be one of two Walt Disney Animation projects released in 2016, along with the animal-filled Zootopia. That movie will be coming out on March 4, 2016, while Moana will be coming out November 23, 2016.
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Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.