EXCLUSIVE: Amblin Partners has acquired Deb Lucke’s YA novel The Lunch Witch, with Angry Birds co-director Clay Kaytis attached to make his live-action directing debut. Michael De Luca is producing. They will set a writer quickly.
The setup: For generations and generations, the women of Grunhilda’s family have stirred up trouble in a big, black pot. Grunhilda inherits her famous ancestors’ recipes and cauldron, but no one believes in magic anymore. Despite the fact that her only useful skill is cooking up potfuls of foul brew, she finds a job listing that might suit her: lunch lady. Grunhilda delights in scaring the kids until she meets a timid little girl named Madison with a big set of glasses who becomes an unlikely friend. Madison needs help at school and at home, but helping people goes against everything Grunhilda’s believes in as a witch. Will this girl be able to thaw the Lunch Witch’s icy heart? Or will Grunhilda turn her back on a kindred spirit?
Kaytis comes out of Disney where he worked as an animator on such films as Frozen, Tangled and Wreck-It Ralph before Rovio hired him to helm the feature animation adaptation of its touchstone franchise. Angry Birds grossed $346 million worldwide for Sony. The hope is this could be his first live-action effort in the family film space.
He’s repped by WME and Primary Wave Entertainment. Lucke is repped by UTA on behalf of DeFiore and Company.