Newcomer Maia Kealoha to lead Disney’s live-action Lilo & Stitch

Lilo & Stitch made a splash upon its first release, helping launch a host of new actors to the world. The project will look to do it again, this time in live-action.

We’ve learned Maia Kealoha will topline the film, starring as the titular Lilo. Disney’s latest live-action remake comes from Marcel the Shell With Shoes On’s Dean Fleischer Camp, helming the project fresh off his Oscar nomination. 

Maia Kealoha has yet to star in any feature films, but it was noted she was recently featured in Little Miss Kona Coffee pageants. While there’s no confirmation, scoopers have noted that Kealoha and executive producer Ryan Halprin follow each other on Instagram. Kealoha joins the previously announced Zach Galifianakis, reportedly starring as the side character Pleakley.

Lilo & Stitch was released in 2002 and is considered a box office success, grossing over $273 million worldwide. Despite its money and a Best Animated Feature nomination at the 75th Academy Awards, the film never made the same splash as its peers. But it would later grow a cult following, and the original movie would see several sequels and television series. The franchise included three direct-to-video sequels, starting with Stitch! The Movie, and three television series, including the sequel series Lilo & Stitch: The Series.

The story follows Lilo Pelekai, raised by her older sister Nani, and Stitch, an alien creature with the code name Experiment 626. Together, these two wreak havoc and become best friends in the beautiful location of Kauaʻi, Hawaii. Dr. Jumba Jookiba and Agent Wendy Pleakley created Stitch and are on the hunt for him, while Cobra Bubbles, a former CIA agent working as a case worker on Lilo and Nani’s living situation. The story hit hard on living in Hawaii and sisterhood themes and played to the misfits like no other Disney movie before it.

The film currently has no set release date.

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