ByElise Jost, writer at
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Elise Jost

The teaser trailer for Disney's gorgeous Polynesian adventure, Moana, recently dropped, and it's just making us want to see more! Disney have been carefully revealing the details of their new movie, but there's already quite a few bits of trivia that will help you get a better idea of what Moana could turn out to be until it comes out on November 23.

From behind-the-scenes fun facts to the cultures that inspired Moana, read on for 7 awesome facts you probably didn't know about the tale of the first Polynesian Disney princess.

1. Maui's Character Draws From Several Legends

'Moana' / Disney
'Moana' / Disney

The teaser trailer introduces us to the demi-god Maui and his impressive achievements. If you're Hawaiian and confused because you can't recognize them all, it's because he was actually created using multiple versions of the myth known in the Pacific: Maui can be found in the mythology of several islands such as Hawaii, Tonga, Samoa, Tahiti, French Polynesia and New Zealand. And if there's one attribute that he keeps in all these different cultures, it's that he's pretty much iconic.

2. Newcomer Auli'i Cravalho Is The Youngest Actress Ever To Voice A Disney Princess

The adorable Auli'i Cravalho is a Hawaiian native and was 14 years old when she gave her voice to Moana, which makes her the youngest actress to ever voice a Disney princess! The video above shows you the casting team asking her to act as if she'd gotten the role — until they revealed that they weren't just saying that to test her reaction!

3. "Moana" Means "Ocean"

'Moana' / Disney
'Moana' / Disney

"Moana" means "ocean" in Hawaiian and Maori, but her name was changed to Vaiana and the title to Oceania in the Italian version, to avoid confusion and unwished-for Google results because of an Italian porn star from the '80s named Moana Pozzi.

4. Hamilton's Lin-Manuel Miranda Is Working On The Soundtrack

Lin-Manuel Miranda is mostly know for the Hamilton Broadway play, which has earned a boatload of awards at the Tonys on June 12 — including Best Original Score for Miranda's work on the play. The score of Moana will be composed by Mark Mancina, who's also worked on The Lion King, Samoan musician Opetaia Foa'i, and Lin-Manuel Miranda. The latter's involvement puts him in line to be the third person to ever win a PEGOT, since he's already got a Pulitzer, an Emmy, a Grammy, and a Tony and is just missing an Oscar.

5. Moana Is Entirely CG — Except For Maui's Tattoos

'Moana' / Disney
'Moana' / Disney

Do Maui's moving tattoos remind you of the Greek pottery in Hercules? That's not very surprising considering Moana's directors, Ron Clements and John Musker, have both worked on the adventures of the Greek demi-god. The movie is also the first one made by the pair to be entirely computer animated, except for the tattoos.

6. The Directors Went On A Trip To The Pacific To Learn More About The Culture

'Moana' / Disney
'Moana' / Disney

Musker explained to the Huffington Post how they really discovered the Pacific culture after they'd developed a first version of the storyline.

"So Ron and I developed this very simple storyline. And John being John, he said 'I love this arena. I love the bare bones of the story you've got. But this really begs for research. On the ground research.' So we were forced, as it were, to go to the South Seas two years ago. We've gone twice now. Two big research trips. And those trips have been revelatory and kind of life-changing in a way. In that it made us take our very simple outline and rework the whole thing."

7. Moana Is Dwayne Johnson's Second Animated Movie

Dwayne Johnson, a.k.a. The Rock, is the ideal voice cast for Maui as he's got Samoan origins. It's his second role in an animated feature, as he's lent his voice to Captain Charles T. Baker in the alien movie Planet 51.

Are you looking forward to Moana?

Sources: IMDb, The Huffington Post


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