Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson’s Unforgettable Character From Disney’s Moana Was Inspired By Actor’s Samoan Ancestor

Disney’s Moana was a worldwide hit, grossing over $643 million across the globe. A fresh story set against the backdrop of the Polynesian Islands, it is an empowering story set of self-discovery. Not only does it tackle the themes of identity and respecting one’s roots but it also celebrates the rich Polynesian culture through a heartwarming tale. The movie also stars Dwayne Johnson as the demigod Maui.

While at a glance Maui would appear as the animated version of The Rock himself, the popular Disney character was actually inspired by the actor’s Samoan ancestor, his maternal grandfather wrestler High Chief Peter Maivia.

Dwayne Johnson’s Popular Disney Character Is Based On His Actual Samoan Ancestor

Maui and Rock’s maternal grandfather

Also Read: Robert Downey Jr’s Oppenheimer Beats Dwayne Johnson’s $801M Movie for Insane Box Office Record

Dwayne Johnson‘s character in Moana is one of the most beloved Disney characters. Initially appearing to be too arrogant and self-absorbed, he becomes a memorable character known for his amazing humor and personality. And Dwayne Johnson does a wonderful job portraying Maui, who is an integral part of the storyline.

Now all set to actually play the character in real life in the live-action remake of Moana, it is a no-brainer that The Rock would undeniably do a wonderful job. Just as amazing as it would be for fans to witness him reprise his iconic role in real life, it would be as amazing for the actor to play the character who is based on his late grandfather wrestler High Chief Peter Maivia.

Johnson revealed this little detail years ago when he tweeted a picture of the character and his Samoan ancestor,

“a lil’ @Disney gem of a secret, my character Maui was partly inspired by my late grandfather, High Chief Peter Maivia of Samoa. #grateful”

The similarity between the two is shakingly striking, leading to many fans tweeting multiple pictures of The Rock and his grandfather with captions like ‘Moana’s Maui VS The Rock’s literal actual grandfather’ in disbelief.

Also Read: “I truly don’t get the point”: Dwayne Johnson’s ‘Moana’ Announcement Draws Harsh Criticism For Its Untimely Live-Action Remake

Dwayne Johnson Would Be Reprising His Role As Maui In Moana Live-Action

Moana and Maui in the movie

Moana is one of the most successful Disney movies. And to have a live-action remake of the film has fans excited with anticipation. The announcement of the live-action remake came earlier this year when Dwayne Johnson announced it on his official Instagram. And later in April he confirmed that he would be reprising his popular role when he tweeted,

“Thank you all so much for the love, excitement & support. Singing, dance, culture. Maui is the role of a lifetime and I’ll give it all I got.”

Apart from the release date and Johnson’s casting no other details regarding the script or music have been revealed about the movie. Even the details regarding who would be playing Moana have not been revealed other than the fact that Auli’i Cravalho, who was the voice actor for Moana, would not be essaying her role in the live-action.

While the SAG-AFTRA strikes are expected to delay production, for now, the release date has been set for June 27, 2025.

Disney’s original animated Moana can be streamed on Disney+.


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