LOS ANGELES, Oct. 26 (UPI) -- Casting has begun on a Tahitian-language version of the upcoming, Polynesia-set, animated picture Moana, Walt Disney Animation Studios announced.
"When we first visited Tahiti five years ago as part of one of our research trips to the Pacific Islands," said Moana producer Osnat Shurer, "we met the incredible Hinano Murphy. As founder and director of the Te Pu Atiti'a Foundation, she and her husband, Frank Murphy [an expert botanist with UC Berkley, Gump Station,] provided the film-making team with invaluable guidance on many of the cultural and bio-cultural elements of our film. Within that first trip, Hinano made a request of us -- to pursue a Tahitian-language translation of the film. And we are so very excited that we, and the talented Disney Character Voices International team, are going to create this, and create this with Hinano."
"Native languages, like Tahitian, are being lost; it is important to find new ways to excite the communities, elders, young adults and children here [in Tahiti] about our language. Hopefully, this will also inspire other Polynesian islanders to find innovative ways to teach their languages. We hope this version will be used as a teaching tool for many decades into the future," Hinano Murphy added.
Moana, which is titled Vaiana: La Legende du Bout du Monde for French-speaking audiences, will be released in Tahiti in French on Nov. 30. The release date for the Tahitian-language edition has not yet been determined.
Scheduled to open in the United States Nov. 23, the English version of the movie features the vocal talents of Auli'i Cravalho, Dwayne Johnson, Phillipa Soo and Alan Tudyk. The film includes music by Lin-Manuel Miranda.