Maia Kealoha’s film career will hit the ground running. Deadline has confirmed that the newcomer has been cast as Lilo in Lilo & Stitch, Disney+’s live-action version of the Hawaii-set 2002 animated pic.
Kealoha’s casting is reminiscent of another Polyneisa-centric Disney film, 2016’s Moana, in which Hawaii-born then-newcomer Auli’i Cravalho was chosen to voice the lead character from the fictional island of Motunui.
Dean Fleischer Camp — fresh off an Oscar nom for Marcel the Shell with Shoes On — will direct the film, which also stars Zach Galifianakis. It follows the relationship between a lonely girl named Lilo and Stitch, an alien engineered to be a force of destruction.
Chris Kekaniokalani Bright scripted the new film, from a previous draft by Mike Van Waes. Dan Lin and Jonathan Eirich will produce for Rideback, with Ryan Halprin exec producing for the company.
Lilo & Stitch is the latest live-action update of a Disney toon, following in the pawsteps of The Lion King, 101 Dalmatians, Beauty and the Beast, The Jungle Book, Aladdin, Dumbo, Mulan and others. No release date is set.
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