Disney's live-action 'Moana' chooses 'Hamilton' Helmer Thomas Kail as director

Disney’s live-action ‘Moana’ chooses ‘Hamilton’ Helmer Thomas Kail as director

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Thomas Kail, the Tony Award-winning director of Broadway Hamiltonhas been tapped to direct Disney’s live-action version of the studio’s 2016 animated musical sensation Vaiana.

Disney announced the remake earlier this spring and has assured Dwayne Johnson to return as Maui, the grand demigod of wind and sea.

Johnson is producing through his Seven Bucks Productions banner alongside Dany Garcia and Hiram Garcia. Beau Flynn is also producing through Flynn Picture Co.

Jared Bush, who wrote the screenplay for the original film, wrote the remake, along with Dana Ledoux Miller.

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Inspired by Polynesian myths, Moana told the story of a young woman who disobeys her father, the leader of an island who is facing impending ecological disaster, and sets out on a quest to reunite a mystical relic with its owner, a goddess called You Fitti. Along the way, she frees Maui from her island prison, she is captured by a monstrous crab, and finds the strength to become the boss her father believed he could be.

According to the studio, the new version aims, like its animated predecessor, to celebrate the islands, communities and traditions of Pacific Islanders as seen through the eyes of a young woman eager to pave her own path.

Auli’i Cravalho, who voiced Moana in the original, will executive produce alongside Flynn Picture Co’s Scott Sheldon.

Kail first gained Broadway attention when she directed Lin-Manuel Miranda In the heights in 2008, earning a Tony for Best Direction of a Musical. He reunited with Miranda in 2015 for Hamiltonthis time winning the Best Director award as the musical won 11 awards out of the whopping 16 it was nominated for.

This brought Hollywood to its doorstep, with the helmsman then tapped to direct Fat: alivewhich earned him two Emmys for directing and producing, and then five episodes of the acclaimed FX film Fosse/Verdon miniseries, in which he earned an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Directing and met his now wife, Michelle Williams.

Although he directed the filmed stage production of Hamilton for Disney+ in 2020, Vaiana it will be his directorial debut on a narrative feature film.

He never left Broadway and its production of Sweeney Todd starring Josh Groban and Annaleigh Ashford recently opened on Broadway to rave reviews. It received eight Tony nominations, including Best Revival of a Musical.

Kail is represented by WME.