BY STEVE FISHER
MANY LITTLE GIRLS dream of becoming
a Disney princess. That dream came true
for Auli’i Cravalho when she was chosen as
the voice of Moana, the title character in
Disney’s animated luau of a movie. Inspired
by stories of Oceania, the ;lmmakers auditioned hundreds of girls from Paci;c islands
to play the daughter of a Polynesian chief.
In the movie, Moana crosses the ocean to
save her island by ;nding the demigod Maui
(voiced by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson),
who has stolen the heart of Te Fiti, the mother
island, unleashing a darkness that threatens
her people’s existence.
At age ;;, Cravalho was discovered in a
tryout for a charity fundraiser and invited
to audition. According to The Walt Disney
Company, she was the last girl to audition.
The Connection spoke by phone to the
now-;;-year-old Costco member from
THE COSTCO CONNECTION: What was
your performing background before the movie?
AULI’I CRAVALHO: I was in my school
choir, as well as in my church choir. And I
put on shows in my backyard. Aside from
that, I had no formal training. I just really
enjoyed singing from a young age, as well
as acting crazy and calling it acting.
CC: Describe your experience auditioning, and the emotions running through you.
AC: It was my first time in a casting
o;ce. I suppose I should have been nervous.
I really wasn’t. I wasn’t expecting much to
come out of it because I had never done
anything like that before. So I just went in
and had a lot of fun. I wasn’t too concerned
on whether or not I got the role. It was at the
Hawaii Five-; casting studio, with these big
pictures on the wall of the Hawaii Five-;
cast, and [I thought] whatever happens,
I’ve already made it.
CC: How did you ;nd out you got the
part and what was your reaction?
AC: I was called back in and told that I
just needed to ad-lib a few words here and
there. I said a few words, and they were like,
“Well, could you say that line a little bit
happier.” And I’m like, yes, absolutely, happy,
sad, anything you want. So I said it happier,
and they were like, “What if we gave you the
role of Moana? How would you act?” And I
kind of looked at them with a little bit of a
Moana is available in a BD/DVD/Digital HD
Combo (Item #1136252; available 3/7)
at all Costco warehouses. And look for a
variety of Moana books for young readers.
Auli’i Cravalho earns her first role as Moana
glint to my eye. Were they giving me a hint?
And so I said it as happy as I possibly could.
It was after that that they told me that I
would be playing the role of Moana. I still
get chicken skin just thinking about it,
because that was the day that my entire life
pretty much changed.
CC: Was it tough getting used to the
process of voice acting?
AC: It was de;nitely a learning curve.
It’s very di;erent from live action, or any
plays that I had been directing in my backyard. I needed to say a line maybe up to ;;
times, with di;erent lilts in my voice, different intonations and di;erent emphasis
on di;erent words. I can’t tell you just how
much I enjoyed that process of creating the
character and seeing Moana come to life
like that. Yes, she shares my voice, but at
the same time she’s her own person. And I
still think of her as my best friend, the one
that I’m rooting on. And though I’m lending
her my voice, her adventurous spirit is something that I can only hope to achieve.
CC: How are you similar to Moana?
AC: We are very similar in almost an
uncanny kind of way. I have grown up on
the Hawaii islands, the Big Island, most of
my life. And then I moved to another island.
So I’ve been living on an island all of my life.
I’m very deeply rooted to my culture. We
also learn about navigating by stars; it’s part
of our curriculum. I was a country girl and
I grew up with chickens and pigs. It’s crazy
the amount of similarity Moana and I have.
CC: What do you think the message of
the movie is?
AC: I think
the message of
Moana is to
horizon, and to
not be afraid to
go out on whatever journey it is
to ;gure out who
you truly are. C
IMAGES: © 2017DISNEY.ALLRIGHTSRESERVED
OUR DIGITAL EDITIONS
Click here to see a short video interview
with Auli’i Cravalho and a clip from
Moana. (See page 9 for details.)