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Trivia / Moana

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  • Acting for Two: As well as Heihei's vocal effects, Alan Tudyk also plays an elderly villager who suggests eating Heihei.
  • Actor-Shared Background:
    • With the exception of Heihei (who is, mind you, a chicken with no dialogue) and the elderly villager who wants to eat Heihei (both played by Alan Tudyk), all of the film's speaking roles are performed by actors with Hawaiian, Samoan, or Māori ancestry, and the only singing done by non-Polynesian performers are Christopher Jackson, who sings Chief Tui's parts, and Lin-Manuel Miranda, who sings the English portions of "We Know The Way".
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    • Dwayne Johnson (Maui) is half Samoan; Oscar Kightley (who plays a fisherman) is Samoan, and former Pittsburgh Steelers player Troy Polamalu (the villager with the leaking roof) is also Samoan.
    • Auli'i Cravalho (Moana) and Nicole Scherzinger (Sina) are part Native Hawaiian.
    • Rachel House (Grandma Tala), Temuera Morrison (Tui), and Jemaine Clement (Tamatoa) have Maori ancestry.
    • The te reo Māori dub adds Māori voice actors Jaedyn Randell (Moana), Piripi Taylor (Maui), and Amanda Ashton (Sina) to the original Māori cast members.
  • Awesome, Dear Boy: Part of why Dwayne Johnson agreed to the role was the thrill of seeing his Polynesian ancestry so beautifully depicted in a major motion picture, and he admitted to crying Tears of Joy over it many, many times during production.
  • Cash Cow Franchise: More Moana merchandise is sold than that of Frozen. It helps that unlike Frozen, it appeals to both young boysnote  and young girls, since it has one female lead and one male lead.
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  • Celebrity Voice Actor: In the Norwegian dub, Tamatoa is voiced by famous and seasoned singer Bjørn Eidsvåg, making it his first time ever voicing in an animated film.
  • Directed by Cast Member: Rachel House (Grandma Tala) directed the te reo Māori dub.
  • DVD Commentary: The DVD, Blu-ray, and Digital HD copies include one by directors Musker and Clements, the only commentary provided for a Disney Animated Canon movie from The New '10s.
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  • Multiple Languages, Same Voice Actor:
    • Rachel House (Grandma Tala), Temuera Morrison (Tui), Jemaine Clement (Tamatoa), and Oscar Kightley (fisherman) voice their characters in the original English and the te reo Māori dub.
    • Auli'i Cravalho voices the title character in the original English as well as in the Hawaiian dub. Same for Nicole Scherzinger (Sina).
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  • Name's the Same: Crosses over with Genius Bonus and Meaningful Name. Motonui has a Real Life counterpart which is owned by Chile, which means "Big Island". It's part of none other than Rapa Nui, aka Easter Island, which perhaps is another example of Shown Their Work, as Rapa Nui is Polynesian.
  • Non-Singing Voice: Moana's father's voice is spoken by Temuera Morrison but sung by Christopher Jackson, making this the first Disney film since Mulan to use this trope. Mind you, Temuera can actually sing.
  • Playing Against Type:
    • Alan Tudyk, known for voicing humorous antagonists in previous Disney films, plays Heihei, a dimwitted chicken whose lines consist entirely of crowing and clucks.
    • This is John Musker and Ron Clements' first time directing a computer-animated movie, albeit one with a lot of hand-drawn 2D effects, after having directed several hand-drawn ones for two decades.
  • Playing Gertrude: Rachel House (Gramma Tala) is actually 11 years younger than Temuera Morrison (Chief Tui).
  • Production Posse:
    • The film reunites John Musker and Ron Clements, the legendary directing team behind The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Hercules, and The Princess and the Frog.
    • Moana marks Christopher Jackson's third time working with Lin-Manuel Miranda, since both previously appeared in the original Broadway productions of Miranda's In the Heights and Hamilton. Phillipa Soo who was also in the original Broadway Cast of Hamilton is credited as an "additional voice".
  • Quote Source:
  • Real-Life Relative: The woman who says "She's doing great!" after Moana suggests relocating the coconut grove is Puani Cravalho, the mother of Auli'i Cravalho, Moana's voice actress.
  • Spoiled by the Merchandise:
    • The novelization of the film got released a month before the film came out.
    • The LEGO set "Moana's Ocean Voyage" has a play feature where the mountain with Te Ka's image and color scheme spins to reveal Te Fiti, after Moana returns her heart.
  • Throw It In!: Jemaine Clement improvised quite a few of Tamatoa's lines (as seen here).
  • What Could Have Been:
    • The original idea was for the film to branch away from the Disney Princess template and focus entirely on Maui, with the story being a loose conglomeration of a few of the legends about him. Then the crew actually traveled to Polynesia and became so fascinated with the culture that Moana was created as the new focus character.
    • In early designs, Maui had a shaven head, furthering his resemblance to his voice actor. However, as the team did research, they gave him a thick mane of hair to represent his mana.
    • There are a few songs that never made it into the final product. For example, Lin-Manuel Miranda's Unstoppable. (WARNING! The song includes spoilers for the movie.) Although some parts of those songs did end up being used; the instrumentals in the beginning of "You're Welcome" are very similar to "Unstoppable", and part of the lyrics of "More" ended up in "How Far I'll Go" (the "Every turn I take..." bit).
    • Heihei was originally conceived as a much more serious, no-nonsense character that was determined to keep Moana out of trouble and remaining on the island, sort of like a Sebastian Expy. However, the chicken became unlikable, so they went in a totally different direction. Pua also had a larger role in earlier drafts, but it was decided that having an adorable, intelligent animal along for the ride would give Moana too much comfort on her journey.
    • Some sources suggest that the Kakamora battle scene is what ultimately saved Heihei from being dumped entirely. After someone suggested that Heihei could be the story's comic relief, artist Sunmee Joh boarded a funnier version of the Kakamora scene where, instead of just fighting over the Heart of Te Fiti, Moana and the Kakamora were carrying a chicken around the entire time. John Lasseter's reaction to this change apparently gets referenced at the end of the film with Maui's line of "The chicken lives!"
    • Tamatoa was initially conceived of as a headless giant inspired by such a being in folklore.
    • Lalotai was originally planned to be more of a traditional underworld (taking the form of a glowing underwater village amongst the coral) where Moana would meet the spirits of her grandmother and ancestors. The goddess Hina would have also been part of this sequence, though depicted as Maui's overbearing grandmother.
    • In Taika Waititi's first draft of the script, Moana had nine older brothers who were the ones who taught her how to sail (making her the youngest child and only girl) and who she had to go and rescue.
    • In early drafts, Moana was meant to be 14, but was aged up slightly to 16 for the final product. Coincidentally, Auli'i Cravalho was 14 when she was cast and during recording, and 16 when the film was released. Had she remained 14, Moana would have been the youngest "princess" in the Disney Animated Canon since Snow White (who was also 14).
    • One scene originally had Moana taking out her anger on some coconuts by batting them out into the sea with a stick like baseballs. This was changed to her throwing sticks when the film's oceanic consultants pointed out that wasting her island's most valuable resource during a temper tantrum, in the middle of a food crisis, would make her less sympathetic.
    • In early drafts, Moana was written as absolutely idolising Maui and obsessively knowing all of his legends, only to be disappointed when she sees what he's like now. In the finished film, she knows very little of Maui or his past feats and only seeks him for her mission, though Maui initially mistakes her for a fan when they first meet.
    • The directors originally wanted to make a film based on Terry Pratchet's Mort, but a litany of problems meant that they had to abandon the idea and focus on a diffrent film, the end result being Moana.


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