Disney Casts Newcomer to Lead ‘Lilo & Stitch’ Live-Action Remake

Justin Giglio

Maia Kealoha, Lilo & Stitch

Disney Casts Newcomer to Lead ‘Lilo & Stitch’ Live-Action Remake

Disney is producing a live-action remake of its 2002 film “Lilo & Stitch”, and they have identified the actor they want to take on the lead role of Lilo: newcomer Maia Kealoha.

“Lilo & Stitch” Live-Action Remake

The live-action remake of “Lilo & Stitch” is being produced for Disney+ exclusively and will be directed by Dean Fleischer Camp, who received an Oscar nomination for “Marcel the Shell with Shoes On,” written by Chris Kekaniokalani Bright, and produced by Dan Lin and Jonathan Eirich. The upcoming remake has no release date but is based on the 2002 Walt Disney Animation Studios film of the same name starring Daveigh Chase and Chris Sanders which follows a young Hawaiian girl who adopts a “dog” from the local pound, completely unaware that it’s a dangerous scientific experiment taking refuge on Earth, hiding from its creator and those who see it as a menace and a criminal.

Last month it was reported that Zach Galifianakis had been cast in the film.

Last year, Disney opened its casting call for this film encouraging submissions from actors of Native Hawaiian/Polynesian/Maori descent.

Lilo Stitch casting call

Maia Kealoha as “Lilo”

lilo and stitch live-action remake
Source: Little Miss Kona Coffee Instagram

Maia Kealoha will make her film debut as “Lilo”, the titular character in “Lilo & Stitch”. As a young Hawaiian actress, Kealoha won the role after Disney’s open call.

While this will be Kealoha’s film debut, she does have experience as the 2023 Mini Miss Konda Coffee winner. Little Miss Kona Coffee is “Kona’s Premier Youth Competition featuring the Youngest of the Hawai’i Island young ladies ages 4-17.” The Mini Miss Kona Coffee division of the competition, which Keahola won, is for girls aged four to six. The Little Miss Kona Coffee website describes the Mini division competition like this:

“There is no doubt that this age group is the most fun! Everything they do is cute and adorable, resulting in less stress for stage and performance concerns. What these girls really want is to wear a little crown. What is important, is to recognize signs of gifts, talents, and interests early in their lives and to encourage them to practice to make as perfect as can be. Testing their attention span and cooperation with new peers can help them to be comfortable on stage with a live audience. Whether it is in a private interview or in front of hundreds of people, they will gain skills and make new friends.”

With no prior acting experience, it will be exciting to see what this young actress can bring to the role!

Lilo & Stitch (2002)


Disney released “Lilo & Stitch,” their 42nd animated feature film, in 2002. It was written and directed by Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders (who is also the voice of Stitch). It was the second of three Disney animated features (the others being “Mulan” and “Brother Bear”) produced primarily at the animation studio located at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (then known as “Disney-MGM Studios”). “Lilo & Stitch” was nominated for the 2002 Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.

The upcoming “Lilo & Stitch” live-action remake currently has no projected release date. It’s set to debut on Disney+.

Disney Adds Another Live-Action Remake


Disney has been on a roll releasing some of their classic films as live-action remakes. Most recently it was announced that Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson is set to direct Disney’s live-action hybrid remake of “The Aristocats.” “Pinocchio”, “The Lion King”, “The Jungle Book”, and “Dumbo” have all been remade as well as others.

The live-action remake of the Disney classic “The Little Mermaid” is set to premiere next month, and the trailer for the new film debuted during the 2023 Academy Awards. You can check out the trailer below:

Are you excited to see what this new actress can bring to the role of Lilo? Let us know in the comments.

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