Disney’s new animated musical, Moana is set to release on November 23rd and the cast and crew are hard at work hitting the press market to promote their new film, which I reviewed this week. In addition to getting a chance to see the film ahead of its release I was lucky enough to attend a press conference in Santa Monica, California with some of the cast and the people responsible for bringing this project to the big screen. This was my first press conference and from my experience it was thrilling to hear from the talent involved in how they individually contributed to bringing this incredible celebration of Polynesian culture to life.
The talent involved with this press conference included Dwayne Johnson (Voice of Maui), Auli’i Cravalho (voice of “Moana”), Lin- Manuel Miranda (Music), Opetaia Foa’I (Music), the Directors Ron Clements and John Musker as well as Producer Osnat Shurer. All of these individuals took the time to answer questions which were thought out. They all had their moments in getting a chance to speak and everyone was eloquent.
Lin-Manuel Miranda was a popular person who was given a ton of questions, but by far the best one involved a woman who felt the need to do her question entirely in rhymes to pay tribute to Lin’s work, which was certainly a unique way of grabbing his attention. When asked about the writing process for the music Lin jokingly stated, “The first time I sat down at my piano to work on something I remember thinking ‘Don’t think about Let it Go. Don’t think about Let it go’”. He also mentioned that he loved working on the music for it seeing that John Musker and Ron Celements were responsible for his favorite Disney film, The Little Mermaid. He began work on the music while starring in his hit show Hamilton and some of his Hamilton castmates provide vocals for the demos of the songs, which is unique for demo tracks.
The majority of the time spent answering questions was discussion of the music and how important that was for the story, but also about how the Polynesian culture impacted the film. They remarked that what was done in The Lion King influenced them to combine the sounds of the Polynesian music to create something very new, but also something that would pay respect to what has come before. Opetaia stated that in his culture music is like breathing. Dwayne, Auli’i, and Opetai are all from Polynesian roots and there was a question directed at them, which asked whether or not they feel the film respected the culture. They all were very proud of what was done and proud to be a part of something special that invites others to understand the culture.
All the talent involved spoke with passion and interest in the film that they had made. The same spirit that was represented in the film and getting to see these talented people in person talk about their love of the project was certainly an exciting experience that I was lucky enough to be present for.
So what are you most excited for in Moana? Let us know in the comments!