Disney’s Moana will hit theaters on November 23 and we were able to get a sneak peek and learn more about the making of the film with the creators. Here’s everything we found out that we couldn’t wait to share with you:
Lin-Manuel Miranda won a dance competition while on a research trip with directors Ron Clements and John Musker.
After Ron and John’s initial trip to Fiji, Samoa, and Tahiti, they picked their music team, including Lin-Manuel, and flew to New Zealand. They wanted to immerse themselves in the culture so that they could honor the unique musical heritage and rhythms, through the film. The team went to the Pacifica Music Festival, where there just happened to be a dance competition. Of course, Lin-Manuel jumped on stage and won the whole thing.
Singing “You’re Welcome” is one of the best times Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (Maui) has had in his career.
According to Lin-Manuel, Dwayne was eager to sing as soon as he accepted the role of Maui. He saw singing “You’re Welcome” as an opportunity to challenge himself—and singing in a Disney film is a bar that has been set incredibly high. And he definitely hit that bar.
Technology has advanced a lot since Ron and John worked with water in The Little Mermaid.
Ron and John have worked on some of Disney’s best films, and the technology they worked with for Moana was more advanced than ever before. When the creative team was in the Pacific Islands, John said, “People talked about the ocean as if it were alive, and they caressed it and they had these personal relationships with the ocean.” They knew they had to bring the ocean to life as a character and today’s animation allowed them to do just that.
Music is a huge part of the culture of the Pacific Islands, so creating music for Moana was different than in any other Disney movie.
Ron Clements said that when they visited the Pacific Islands, they noticed music everywhere. They decided it was necessary to include vocals from another language for the underscore of the film. Plus, adding Lin-Manuel helped add a narrative drive to the island character of the music.
The Lion King inspired parts of Moana.
The creative team took inspiration from The Lion King and the way the music weaves multiple languages together. This helped create songs like “We Know the Way.”
When recording the scenes with Rachel House (Gramma Tala), Auli’i Cravalho (Moana) thought of her mom.
Auli’i found the scenes with Gramma Tala to be difficult to record because she wasn’t able to connect with her own grandmother before she passed. During those scenes, she thought of the person who pushes her and loves her unconditionally. For Auli’i, that person is her mom.
Which of these facts was your favorite? Tell us in the comments!