Now that Disney is releasing “Moana,” who knows how far they’ll go?
Besides giving us a new catchy song in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “How Far I’ll Go,” “Moana” introduces us to a new kind of Disney princess. In complete contrast to a damsel in distress, Disney’s first Polynesian princess, Moana (Auli’i Cravalho), is described by directors Ron Clements and John Musker as “badass.”
The pair told The Huffington Post that they started with a much different story focused on the demigod Maui, voiced by Dwayne Johnson in the movie.
“There was sort of a rescue mission where there was a girl whose lover had been kidnapped, and basically she went to rescue the guy. That was one of the myths that we used for the original story,” said Musker.
After a three-week research trip to learn more about the culture, the directors said it was clear the focus should shift to Moana.
“There was never a romance in that [”Moana”] story. It was a ‘True Grit’ thing of this young girl on a quest, and the balance of nature and the fate of her world is at stake,” said Clements.
Musker told us the movie is “pushing [Moana] into new territory.”
“We made her legs fuller and her hips are fuller to make her capable of these action stunts that we wanted to do, where she can dive off cliffs and those sort of things,” added Musker.
From Ariel helping save her prince in “The Little Mermaid” to Tiana, the first black princess, in “The Princess and the Frog,” Clements and Musker are known for exploring “new territory” with Disney. With all these firsts, we asked the directors when Disney plans to feature its first LGBTQ princess.
Clements said, “It seems like the possibilities are pretty open at this point.”
Musker added that he and Clements don’t have control of what Disney does, but he explained how an LGBTQ princess could make it to the big screen.
“It would be driven by a director or a directorial team that really wanted to push that and if [Disney Animation’s Chief Creative Officer] John Lasseter liked the idea, but I would say we haven’t ever really [had] restrictions placed on what we’ve done,” said Musker.
As proof the directing pair operates sans restrictions, “Moana” even makes jokes at Disney’s expense. One of the best lines comes when Maui tells Moana, “If you wear a dress and you have an animal sidekick, you’re a princess,” poking fun at the classic trope.
Moana does wear a dress and she’s got an animal sidekick, but don’t call her a princess, dude.
“This is a different kind of story and a different kind of girl,” said Clements.
”Moana” hits theaters Nov. 23.