After conquering movie genres from action to comedy, Dwayne Johnson is finally getting around to voicing an animated character in Disney's new hit Moana. And what he liked about this film is the way it avoids the usual stereotypes of your average animated Disney movie.

MoanaDwayne Johnson plays Maui in 'Moana'

"There is no love interest. And there's no damsel in distress character in here. She represents so many 15, 16-year-old girls out there," he says of the title character, who reminds him of his own 15-year-old daughter. "She's ambitious and has a really strong point of view. She wants to tackle the world. She loves tapping into her own identity and putting me in my place!"

And Johnson particularly enjoyed getting a chance to explore the Samoan culture of his mother. "It's called 'aloha spirit' and it's something that is very special," he says. "It's very meaningful to us and our Polynesian culture. It's an intangible, that when you get off the plane and you have your feet on the ground there, energetically it takes you to a different place. And you know, bringing to life a story of our Polynesian culture with our great partners at Disney, musically with these masters, was just a really, really special opportunity."

Watch the trailer for 'Moana' here:


Speaking of music, Johnson also gets to sing in his role as the demigod Maui, whose introductory anthem You're Welcome is a show-stopper. "Look, man, it was an opportunity to challenge myself," he laughs. "The song was in my comfortable range, but parts of it pushed me a little bit, which I appreciate. One of the best times I've ever had in my career was actually working on this project and certainly working on that song, because we all love challenges. The bar is set so incredibly high in a Disney film to sing - like, historically!"

In this sense, Johnson says that the film's central theme inspired him to take on the role. "There's so much noise that's happening in our world, but you've always got to listen to that little voice - your gut, your intuition," he says. "You can do things, you can go beyond boundaries, and you have to trust that gut and instinct."

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And when he first saw the finished movie, he was startled by his emotional reaction to seeing a Polynesian story with such a strong message. "I have never cried consistently through a movie more than I have with this movie," he admits. "Just to be clear, they're all manly tears though!"