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The Rock Reveals His ‘Moana’ Character Has Deep Family Ties

The Rock confirmed the suspicions on Twitter.

Disney’s Moana drew upon rich Polynesian history to influence its animated visuals, and today Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson confirmed that his character, Maui, drew from some personal inspiration, too. In the story of the daughter of a Polynesian chief who sets off on an ocean adventure, Moana encounters the legendary demigod Maui, portrayed with long, curly hair and a square-like frame. Fans have long noted the striking similarities between the demigod’s design and The Rock’s grandfather, Peter Maivia, like in this tweet showing them side-by-side.

In the story of the daughter of a Polynesian chief who sets off on an ocean adventure, Moana encounters the legendary demigod Maui, portrayed with long, curly hair and a square-like frame. Fans have long noted the striking similarities between the demigod’s design and The Rock’s grandfather, Peter Maivia, as evidenced in this tweet showing them side-by-side.

Earlier today, The Rock replied, acknowledging that the resemblance is no coincidence. “A lil’ Disney gem of a secret,” he tweeted. “My character Maui was partly inspired by my late grandfather.” Johnson has frequently talked about how much playing Maui meant to him as a way to represent his Samoan heritage, and his grandfather’s legacy is a perfect tribute to that history.

Peter Maivia was also a Samoan wrestler, and his traditional tattoos covering his abdomen and legs symbolized his High Chief status. Maiva had an extensive wrestling career throughout the sixties and seventies and was posthumously inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame by Johnson himself. Another similarity between the late wrestler and his grandson? Maiva was a film actor too, appearing in the 1967 James Bond film You Only Live Twice. Johnson’s portrayal is a beautiful way to honor the memory of his grandfather.