Set in 1957, this fourth film in the Indiana Jones film series pits an older and wiser Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) against agents of the Soviet Union—led by Surgeon Col. Agent Spalko (Cate Blanchett).
The film opens with Indy having been captured by Soviet agents and being forced to lead them to a mysterious crate in a sealed US Army warehouse in Nevada. The Soviets are hunting for an item with extraordinary magnetic properties - that may even hold sway over human minds.
Indy manages to escape both the agents and a nearby nuclear test. But although Professor Jones has done much both for science and his country, this counts for nothing in the age of Communist paranoia and Indy finds himself under investigation by the FBI as a potential double agent. To escape the sack, Indy is given a leave of absence from Marshall College by his Dean, Charles Stanforth, also known as Dean Stantforth (Jim Broadbent) along with Associate Dean (Pat Roach).
Just as he is leaving, greaser student Mutt (Shia LaBeouf) stops him, saying that an old friend of his is in trouble. Harold Oxley (John Hurt) disappeared in Peru while hunting for a crystal skull called the Crystal Skull of Akator - a relic of a lost Mayan civilisation.
Realising this could be the artifact the Soviets are hunting, Indy and Mutt race against time to both find and understand this strange artifact. Along the way they pick up former lover Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen) and fellow adventurer Mac (Ray Winstone) - and make an astonishing discovery about El Dorado is also known as Akator, the legendary Lost City Of Gold...
The film was in development since the 1989 release of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, because Spielberg and Ford initially disagreed over Lucas's choice of the skull as the plot device. Screenwriters Jeb Stuart, Jeffrey Boam, M. Night Shyamalan, Frank Darabont, and Jeff Nathanson wrote drafts, before David Koepp's script satisfied all three men.
Shooting finally commenced on June 18, 2007, and took place at New Mexico, New Haven, Connecticut, Hawaii, Fresno, California, and soundstages in Los Angeles. In order to keep aesthetic continuity with the previous films, the crew relied on traditional stuntwork instead of computer-generated stunt doubles, and cinematographer Janusz Kaminski studied Douglas Slocombe's style from the previous films.
Marketing and release
Marketing relied heavily on the public's nostalgia for the series, with trailers and tie-in products taking inspiration from all four films. Anticipation for the film has been amped by the secrecy over the actual plot, which resulted in a legal dispute over an extra violating his non-disclosure agreement, and another man was arrested for stealing a computer containing various documents related to the production. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is scheduled for a worldwide release on May 22, 2008.
Role in Lego Indiana Jones