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Friends And Sidekicks
Behind every great adventurer are equally great friends, and in "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” they are portrayed by some of the most renowned actors in the world, who populate the story with indelible characters.

"The beauty of having Steven direct an action/adventure movie like Indiana Jones is that he's capable of attracting a very high caliber of talent,” explains executive producer Kathleen Kennedy. "That's never been truer than in ‘Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.'”

The movie's distinguished cast includes Oscar®-nominated actor John Hurt, who portrays an old colleague of Indy's who is reported missing as "Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” begins. Hurt's character has spent much of his life pursuing the Crystal Skull of Akator, and the endless search has nearly driven him mad.

Director Steven Spielberg says he hoped from the start that Hurt would accept the role, which was inspired by the character Ben Gunn in the Robert Louis Stevenson classic Treasure Island. "I sent the script to John and said, ‘Please, John, think of Ben Gunn when you read the script.' And he did. And he plays the part brilliantly.”

Hurt elaborates: "He's the man who was left on the island for 20 years before they came back for him. But, as it turns out, my character isn't a man who was simply left on his own – he is a man who has become possessed, which comes out as a kind of madness. Of course, the Russians have also now become interested in the skull for completely different reasons, and that's where the story picks up.”

Veteran actor Ray Winstone, who gained the attention of international audiences in the gritty gangster film "Sexy Beast,” is also new to the Indiana Jones cast. Indy regards "Mac” George Michale as a friend, but screenwriter Koepp says Winstone's character isn't quite as simple as that. "The fun part about Mac is that you never quite know whether to believe him. He bends the truth to suit his purposes. But it's utterly charming, and he's really good at it, so just like Indy, we like him and, against our better instincts, we trust him.”

Winstone was Spielberg's first and only choice to play Mac. "I knew Ray Winstone from seeing him in "Sexy Beast.” When I saw that film, I said, ‘I want to work with that actor!' I think he is one of the most brilliant actors around.”

Winstone himself says he sympathizes with Mac, who finds himself walking a jagged line between the competing powers of the Americans and the Soviets. "There was a lot of confusion after World War II, with the rise of the Iron Curtain and the start of the Cold War. Figuring out who you were working for and who you were working against must have been crazy.”

A favorite character from "Raiders of the Lost Ark” and "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” was Marcus Brody, the museum curator and longtime friend of Indy and his father. While Denholm Elliott, who portrayed Brody, died in 1992, the character receives a fitting tribute in "Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”– and Indy has a new, trusted adviser at Marshall College.

Dean Charles Stanforth, played by Oscar® winner Jim Broadbent, is also "a close friend and colleague of Indiana's, and they have known each other for many years at the university,” Broadbent says. "Dean Stanforth is Indy's immediate supervisor, but they have a good, humorous and close-sharing relationship. Harrison is a lovely actor to work with, so that makes it easy.”

Spielberg says Broadbent "brings a beautiful camaraderie in replacing the loss of Denholm Elliott. Jim brings the same kind of humanity that Denholm lent to the character of Marcus. The deep, deep friendship Dean Stanforth has with Indiana Jones is very important, and plays a major role in the story.”

To accompany evil Agent Spalko, this adventure introduces a new character, C

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