Tokoroa teen is new Moana
Tokoroa teenager Jaedyn Randell has been chosen as the lead in the remake of the popular Disney film Moana.
Jayden was chosen for the role, but could have easily missed out after her audition tape was initially overlooked.
Newsreader Piripi Taylor will play Maui
Recording starts this week for the revoiced film, with the Disney fairytale being completely remade in te reo and Hawaiian.
More than 250 women applied to play Moana when a talent search was launched early in June.
Taika Waititi, who wrote the original Moana script, and his whangai sister Tweedie Waititi had partnered with Disney to dub the blockbuster film.
Tweedie announced this week that they had found their local Moana. The New Zealand producers picked Jaedenl, a year 12 student for the part even though it is her first big role.
This was Randell‘s first acting job. The 16-year-old Tainui descendant was a ‘‘raw musical talent’’, Tweedie said. In her role, Randell would work alongside music director Rob Ruha and Jemaine Clement of Flight of the Conchords.
Tweedie admitted they almost missed Randell‘s tape. After watching the hundreds of auditions, the producers decided to re-watch all 250. On second viewing, they saw Randell. ‘‘We watched them twice. Accidently skipped her the first time. Luckily that second decision was made, we almost missed her,’’ she said.
Taika and performance director Rachel House launched a search early in June to find a Maori Moana. All of the original New Zealand cast would reprise their roles, including actors Oscar Kightley and Temuera Morrison.
Maori Television newsreader Piripi Taylor would step into Dwayne ‘‘The Rock’’ Johnson‘s shoes as Maui. Tweedie said there was simply no better fit.
Amanda Ashton would play Moana’s mother Tui.
Recording kicked off on Monday. All going well, Tweedie said it would be finished in three weeks but there were complications. Taika was working on the project from the US and joined meetings via Skype while Clement recorded his part from Europe.
The Maori dubbed Moana was due to be in cinemas for Maori language week in September.