Toko­roa teen is new Moana

South Waikato News - - Front Page - GLENN MCCON­NELL

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.

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