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Disney forced to rename Moana in Italy due to confusion with famous porn star

Sydney Morning Herald logoSydney Morning Herald 17/11/2016 Rob Moran

You go into a theatre expecting porn, you somehow get stuck watching a kid's cartoon instead

. Ugh, hate when that happens. Disney has been forced to change the title of their upcoming animated blockbuster Moana in Italy to avoid such confusion, as it's the name of the country's most famous - and revered - porn star: Moana Pozzi.

Moana's titular character is being renamed 'Vaiana' in Italy. © Disney Moana's titular character is being renamed 'Vaiana' in Italy. The anticipated film - Disney's twelfth entry in its 'princess canon', a Polynesian-inspired story following 16-year-old navigator Moana (Auli'i Cravalho) as she sets sail in search of demigod Maui (Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson) - will instead be titled Oceania, and the titular character renamed Vaiana, a Tahitian name meaning 'water from the cave'.

While Disney have yet to comment on Pozzi's role in the title change, an Italian blogger told website Cartoon Brew that the film's directors, Ron Clements and John Musker, were asked about the issue at the Annecy International Film Festival this year, where they confirmed that she "played a big part in the decision".

Late Italian porn star Moana Pozzi (right) with trans actress Eva Robin's on the TV show Matrioska in 1988. © Mondadori Portfolio Late Italian porn star Moana Pozzi (right) with trans actress Eva Robin's on the TV show Matrioska in 1988.

Moana Pozzi, who died in 1994, aged 33, was a major figure in the lives of a generation of Italians, and not just those in trenchcoats at the local adult theatre.

The actress, who starred in over a hundred hardcore flicks, also founded Italy's 'Love Party', a political party whose platform included the legalisation of brothels and better sex education in schools. She ran an unsuccessful bid for mayor of Rome in 1992.

Newcomer Auli'i Cravalho voices Moana, and Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson voices Maui in the new Disney film. © Disney Newcomer Auli'i Cravalho voices Moana, and Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson voices Maui in the new Disney film.

She also allegedly had a string of famous lovers including Robert De Niro, Harvey Keitel and Roberto Benigni, whose swordsmanship she rated in her 1991 book, Moana's Philosophy, and was pursued by Federico Fellini, who wanted her in his movies and Karl Lagerfield, who wanted her on his runways. 

According to a 2004 New York Times article titled 'The Beatification Of A Porn Star', that compares Pozzi to Marilyn Monroe, she was "as popular with hormonally charged young men as with devout grandmothers." 

The controversy isn't the first to hit Disney's Moana, which has been five years in the making.

Earlier this year, New Zealand MP Jenny Salesa criticised the film's portrayal of Maui, a figure from Polynesian folklore, as grossly obese, describing it as "not acceptable" and saying it perpetuates negative stereotypes.

Samoan rugby player Eliota Fuimanono Sapolu also led viral criticism over the mythological figure's depiction, with a widely shared Twitter meme.

"Hottest men in Hollywood are Polynesian," the post said, alongside pics of Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson and Game Of Thrones' Jason Momoa.

"But Disney's Polynesian Maui is half pig half hippo."

Moana opens in cinemas on Boxing Day.

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