The Angry Birds Movie co-director Clay Kaytis is attached to direct his first live-action feature, The Lunch Witch, based on Deb Lucke’s recent graphic novel series.

The concept was acquired by Amblin Partners and Michael De Luca will produce. No writer is attached at this time.

Clay Kaytis.
Clay Kaytis.

Prior to making his directorial debut with Sony/Rovio’s Angry Birds ($346.5 million global gross), Kaytis had been at Walt Disney Animation Studios, working his way up from an inbetweener on hand-drawn films like Pocahontas, Hercules, and Tarzan, to becoming the animation supervisor on Tangled. He also animated on Wreck-It Ralph, Paperman, and Frozen. While he worked at Disney, Kaytis also ran the popular Animation Podcast, which offered in-depth interviews with leading animators and directors at Disney. Kaytis is repped by William Morris Endeavor (WME) and Primary Wave Entertainment.

Here is the set-up of the original Lunch Witch story, on which the film will presumably be based:

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 Grunhilda’s only useful skill is cooking up potfuls of foul brew, she finds a job listing that might suit her: lunch lady. She delights in scaring the kids until she meets Madison, a girl with thick glasses and unfinished homework who doesn’t fit in. The two outsiders recognize each other. 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 joins a long list of animation directors who have tried live-action direction, among them Brad Bird, Sylvain Chomet, Chris Wedge, Andrew Stanton, Frederik Du Chau, Henry Selick, Rob Minkoff, Kevin Lima, Raman Hui, and Andrew Adamson.

Here’s the link to the buy The Lunch Witch graphic novel on Amazon.


The news about The Lunch Witch was first reported by Deadline.

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