What I think is the most striking thing is that this was just such an ordinary story and yet was still considered an extraordinary moment in Moana’s development. And, actually, the moment in the movie that is so memorable for them is just the moment we were making the cut, the moment when Moana’s mother is looking at the land. So, to see these people really react to our story — and you could probably see how other people might react — was a very powerful moment. It’s what we strive for and it was a very important scene for us.
How did Moana and her father’s story fit in with the original mythology?
I think one of our biggest goals, going into this, was to get a story that wasn’t based on the original stories of what made these islands, or what made the Moana stories of the first generation of Moana, different from what’s being told in other culture. So, the story that will come out of this is a different one — a lot like in The Lion King — and as I said before, it takes place in a different time period. It took a little work and then we decided what the setting for the story would be: the land of these guys that were there before. So, Moana’s mother, in those days, was actually a young girl, which we’ve always said. In the original mythologies you might find, for example, that we know that this girl lived there.
So we’ve been careful to make sure that the story feels like it comes from in this one place. Moana’s mother was a 15 year old girl, and I think it’s interesting that in the story of Moana we don’t know quite where she was born. Or when she was born. All the way back in the first Disney movie, we know that her mother was born on the island of Mata Nui. So, we know from the origin story that she was conceived there – and I think it’s also interesting that in this story, we don’t think that the people that lived there for those 15 years were actually those who were responsible for the creation and ownership of Maui and her family. They were, in fact, people who came and took her out of the water.
How did you determine the story of how Moana’s father came about?
We decided early on that Moana was a female and her mother wasn’t actually her father. So, the only person that we had to
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