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Dwayne The Rock Johnson Interview for Disney's Moana

By November 21, 2016 , ,

In his latest role Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, voices the demigod "Maui" helping a young Moana across the ocean towards an adventure of a lifetime. And it's probably one of his best roles to date for all the right reasons.

Dwayne Johnson Interview for Disney's Moana

Note: Disney and ABC TV invited me on this all expense paid trip to Los Angeles for the Moana Event and ABC TV Event. While I will share different events and activities during the trip, any personal views expressed are always 100% my own.

During the Moana Event press day in L.A., I joined a group interview with Dwayne Johnson to learn more about his role as Maui and what a movie highlighting Polynesian culture and folktales means to him.

Dwayne Johnson Interview for Disney's Moana

Why he picked to voice "Maui" character

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson: It was important for me to do the role because it was a great opportunity to showcase our Polynesian culture to the world. I’m half Samoan and half black, and I felt I wasn’t sure that I'd get the opportunity again to showcase this culture.

Also, it's an opportunity to work with Disney in a classic animated capacity with the element of music. I’ve done two Disney movies in the past, live action movies, but this is different— it’s a different machine.

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson: It’s still the same umbrella, but it’s a different machine, and the opportunity to hopefully make a movie that was not only good but a real good shot at creating something that was like a classic.

Singing and rapping for the song "You're Welcome"

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson: It was a great opportunity to push myself, and to sing. You know, the bar’s set very high in a Disney movie when there’s the element of music.

And also surround myself with really amazing collaborators musically. Like, masterful musical people like Lin-Manuel, Opetaia and Mark Mancina. They're just very, very special.

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson: So I was excited to sing a song, and to Lynn’s credit, he did a lot of deep dive research and he found a comfortable range that I could sing in. And then he also pushed me a little bit. I had a real good time rapping too and the whole thing.

How Maui was animated

Dwayne The Rock Johnson Interview for Disney's Moana

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson: Yeah, so it’s a really cool process. There’s multiple cameras in the room. As you’re sitting in the studio and going through these lines, your facial expressions will then inform the animators for the facial expressions of Maui.

So, if I say, ‘You can’t do that!’ and my eyebrows go up, then that will inform the animators. So there’s all these really amazing unique little things that take place that they capture that informs the animation.

What he wants people to take away from the film

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson: I think there’s a few messages that people can take away from the movie. I think that they did a tremendous job of representing our culture in a way that makes us proud. First there was a little bit of hesitance, from all of us by the way, but it was quickly quelled when I sat with John Lasseter and our filmmakers and they had taken me through their process.

So by the time the script got to me, they’d already done years of research in going to all the different islands, and speaking with the high chiefs, and all the villages and trying to understand the cultures, which comes out in the authenticity, I think, of the writing.

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson: So the takeaway would be showcasing our culture, and seeing that there’s a wonderful quality, fierceness, as well as a tremendous pride of our culture.

Also too I think there’s a great takeaway that speaks to all cultures, ages, religions and everything else that our world has. We have this little voice inside of us, and to always make sure that we get to follow that voice, and listen to the voice – a gut intuition.

And have that kind of faith, not necessarily religious faith, but faith that there is more. And you can be more. Kind of relevant today, right? So, I would say that.
Indeed the message of listening to our inner voice and being faithful to our own personal truth, is a reminder we all need these days!


From Walt Disney Animation Studios comes “Moana,” a sweeping, CG-animated feature film about an adventurous teenager who sails out on a daring mission to save her people.

During her journey, Moana (voice of Auli‘i Cravalho) meets the mighty demigod Maui (voice of Dwayne Johnson), who guides her in her quest to become a master wayfinder.

Together, they sail across the open ocean on an action-packed voyage, encountering enormous monsters and impossible odds, and along the way, Moana fulfills the ancient quest of her ancestors and discovers the one thing she’s always sought: her own identity.

Voice Cast: Auli‘i Cravalho, Dwayne Johnson, Jemaine Clement, Rachel House, Temuera Morrison, Nicole Scherzinger, Alan Tudyk.

Directed by the renowned filmmaking team of Ron Clements and John Musker, produced by Osnat Shurer, and featuring music by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Mark Mancina and Opetaia Foa‘i.

Learn more, visit - www.movies.disney.com/moana

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