Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)

Cate Blanchett as: Irina Spalko
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Selected Cast: Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Shia LaBeouf & Ray Winstone
Written by: David Koepp & George Lucas
Release Year: 2008
Genre: Action / Adventure
MPAA Rating: PG-13

During the Cold War, Soviet agents watch Professor Henry Jones when a young man brings him a coded message from an aged, demented colleague, Henry Oxley. Led by the brilliant Irina Spalko, the Soviets tail Jones and the young man, Mutt, to Peru. With Oxley’s code, they find a legendary skull made of a single piece of quartz. If Jones can deliver the skull to its rightful place, all may be well; but if Irina takes it to its origin, she’ll gain powers that could endanger the West. Aging professor and young buck join forces with a woman from Jones’s past to face the dangers of the jungle, Russia, and the supernatural.

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Quotes from Cate Blanchett

• “I was such a fan of the ‘Indiana Jones’ movies, I grew up on them. I was completely in love with Harrison Ford, and I still am! He’s a hottie, and has definitely stood the test of time.

• “It’s so much fun doing this film, I’ve been having a ball. It’s like a family, everyone is so welcoming. It is a really happy set to be on.”

Quotes from Others

Steven Spielberg
“She is the woman of a thousand faces and I find it as paranormal as some of our premises that she can so utterly transform herself into the character she is playing and then the second that I say ‘cut’, she is back with her Australian accent and kids on her knees being a mom and wife, and a really good mate for the other cast members and the crew.”

“I think it is remarkable about her – her performance skills, her transitioning to character are just seamless.”

“She is the most confident actress I have ever worked with in my life, also the most old-fashioned in that classic and classy sense of the 30’s and 40’s. With Elizabeth (1998) she gave a performance that would have got Bette Davis on her feet applauding.”

“The thing I like best is she’s got her priorities straight, her husband Andrew and her sons. Her ability to lose herself in a character is her gift. Her fearlessness is her hallmark. She makes contributions that even us directors can’t anticipate, in a way working with Cate is like working with a full creative partner and that was my experience in Indiana where she played my favorite bad guy of that entire series.”

“She is born to do what she is doing… I don’t think she had any options. This is her only option. What a gift she has.”

“She also brought a fury that I hadn’t really seen in the real Bob Dylan, and a patience to it, which I loved.”

“She has more colours in her repertoire than a king size box of crayons.”

Harrison Ford
“Madam Blanchett is wonderfully straightforward and never makes a show of her enormous skills. She’s a matey type of girl.”

“She has made an extraordinary contribution to this film, she’s really terrific. These films are inhabited by great actors, with the possible exception of myself. I mean: Cate, Ray Winstone, Shia LaBeouf, Karen Allen, Jim Broadbent. It goes on and on.”

“I’m, what, probably the 200th person to say that Cate is a fantastic talent. I’m not comparing two people or two actors, but it’s evident to me that Cate is undertaking today the roles which 15 or 20 years ago would have been offered to Meryl Streep. They’re both tremendous talents, each among the biggest and best not only of today, but I think in screen history. And I love it that Cate’s willing to join in with Indy. Some actresses or actors on that level of acclaim would think it beneath them to participate in this. I actually know of some performers who are snobbish enough to want to appear in things that are not big hits.”

“When Steven and George brought to me the idea of Blanchett, I was enthusiastic about it. She is my main antagonist in the film. She plays a Russian psychic researcher.”

“When Cate after two weeks appeared on the set out of costume and out of makeup, I didn’t know who it was at first. So it’s a complete transformation when she’s made up and bewigged and in her costume. It’s a remarkable change. There are few people that have the kind of chameleon-like capacity that she has. To be able to play Bob Dylan, to be able to play the Queen of England, and a Russian psychic, that’s a pretty broad range. She doesn’t seem to have a definable limit.”

“Cate has a very physical role and she threw herself into it. She did, she acquired a skill that she didn’t have before, and she’s polished that skill quite assiduously. She’s remarkable on a physical level.”

Ray Winstone
“The last job I was on was with Cate Blanchett, who is one of my favourite actors of all time. It was fabulous. That was one of the perks.”

“To me she’s the greatest actor in the world.”

Quotes from her Character

• Irina Spalko: “You fight like a young man, eager to begin, quick to finish.”

• Irina Spalko: “Belief, Dr. Jones, is a gift you have yet to receive. My sympathies.”
Indiana Jones: “Oh, I believe, sister. That’s why I’m down here.”

• ‘Mac’ George Michale: “You broke my nose!”
Indiana Jones: “I told you.”
Irina Spalko: “Enough! You will speak to Oxley and lead us to Akator, yes?”
Indiana Jones: “Nyet.”
Irina Spalko: “Take him outside.”

• Indiana Jones: “Be careful, you may get exactly what you wish for.”
Irina Spalko: “I usually do.”

• Irina Spalko: “I want to know!”

• Indiana Jones: “You’re not from around here, are you?”
Irina Spalko: “Where is it you would imagine I am from, Dr. Jones?”
Indiana Jones: “Well, the way you’re sinking your teeth into those wubble-u’s, I should think maybe Eastern Ukraine.”

• Irina Spalko: “Imagine. To peer across the world and know the enemy’s secrets. To place our thoughts into the minds of your leaders. Make your teachers teach the true version of history, your soldiers attack on our command. We’ll be everywhere at once, more powerful than a whisper, invading your dreams, thinking your thoughts for you while you sleep. We will change you, Dr. Jones, all of you, from the inside. We will turn you into us. And the best part? You won’t even know it’s happening.”

• Irina Spalko: “Do svidaniya, Dr. Jones!”

• Irina Spalko: “‘Najdite!'”
Dovchenko: “Prinesite mashinu bystra!”

• Irina Spalko: “Flying Saucer!”

• Irina Spalko: “Clearly I have chosen the wrong pressure point. Perhaps I can find a more sensitive one. Prinesite yom!”
Marion Ravenwood: “Get your hands off me, you rotten Russki son of a bitch! Indiana Jones. About time you showed up.”
Mutt Williams: “Mom!”
Marion Ravenwood: “Sweetheart.”
Indiana Jones: “‘Mom’?”

• Indiana Jones: “‘The water sleeps until the great snake.’ These aren’t just drawings, they’re directions. Get me a map!”
Irina Spalko: “Karta!”

• Irina Spalko: “No defiant last words, Dr. Jones?”
Indiana Jones: “I like Ike.”
Dovchenko: “Put down gun.”
Indiana Jones: “You got it, pal.”

• Irina Spalko: “How fortunate our failure to kill you, Dr. Jones. You survive to be of service to us once again.”
Indiana Jones: “Well, you know me, always glad to help.”

• Irina Spalko: “Where was he found?”
Dovchenko: “In Mexico. They were digging in the dirt, looking for this stuff.”

Trivia & Facts

• Filmed in USA (view all.)

• Nominated for BAFTA Film Award. Another 5 wins & 24 nominations (view all.)

• Also known as ‘Indiana Jones and the City of the Gods’ and ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark Sequel’.

• Cate was three months pregnant with her son Ignatius when she completed filming.

• Producer Frank Marshall stated that the film would be shot the same way as the previous three – with stunt men, and using CGI only when necessary. Before the film entered production Steven Spielberg corroborated these claims, but during filming the decision was made to employ more CGI than had originally been anticipated (Spielberg estimated at the time that about 30% of VFX would have to be CGI).

• Sean Connery was approached for a cameo appearance as Henry Jones Sr., Indiana’s father, but he turned it down, finding retirement too enjoyable. George Lucas later stated that in retrospect it was good that Jones Sr. did not appear, as it would disappoint the audience when he would not come along for the adventure. Harrison Ford also joked that he was getting old enough to play his own father, so Sean wasn’t needed anymore.

• This is the first Indiana Jones film without actor Pat Roach, who had a role in all the first three films. Roach died in 2004.

• Shia LaBeouf signed on for the film in April 2007, so excited about doing an Indy film that he didn’t even read the script. To prepare for his role as the greaser Mutt Williams, LeBeouf repeatedly watched the previous three Indiana Jones films and gained fifteen pounds of muscle.

• Originally, Indy was to be up against an uprising of ex-Nazis, but Steven Spielberg felt he could not treat the Nazis lightly after directing Schindler’s List (1993), and Harrison Ford felt they had “plumb wore the Nazis out.” George Lucas also felt that the 1950s decade would have to take into account the Cold War, and when he heard that that Joseph Stalin had been interested in crystal skulls, he made the Soviets the script’s villains.

• In 2006, Harrison Ford declared that if this film was not made by 2008, then the filmmakers should drop the idea altogether. This got Steven Spielberg looking for a good script immediately.

• Steven Spielberg cast Russian actors in the roles of Russian soldiers so their accents would be authentic.

• Harrison Ford apparently has kept himself in such good shape over the years that his costuming measurements for this film had not changed from those in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), nearly 20 years earlier. He performed many of his own stunts, because stunt technology had become safer since 1989; he also felt it improved his performance.

• To prepare for her role of Irina Spalko, Cate Blanchett learned to fence and practiced karate during filming. She based her performance on Rosa Klebb from From Russia with Love (1963), who also has a stern manner and a bob-cut hairdo.

• Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson and Virginia Madsen were all rumored to play a part in the movie.

• Costume designer Mary Zophres based much of the designs of the main characters on certain real-life figures. For instance, Mutt is obviously based on Marlon Brando in The Wild One (1953), Irina Spalko is based on Marlene Dietrich and Marion is based on famed pilot Amelia Earhart.

• The only Indiana Jones film to not receive any Oscar nominations. The first three movies in the series had won at least one Oscar each.

• Security throughout filming was very tight with one of the measures to prevent info leaks was to address the cast with false names in daily call sheets. In those call sheets for example, Harrison Ford was called ‘#’, Cate Blanchett as ‘Mean Girl’ and Karen Allen titled ‘The Damsel’.

• Cate’s portrayal of Irina Spalko in this film is director Steven Spielberg’s favorite villain in the Indiana Jones series.

• When Irina Spalko is hanging from the tree above the ants, she crushes an ant between her legs squirting red goo all over her knees. A short time later you see her legs again and her trousers are perfectly clean – no ant body parts!

• During the jungle campsite face-to-face close-up moment with Oxley, Irina Spalko’s contact lenses’ edge lines are visible.

• When Indy is first seen bound into the chair at the Soviet camp, the tape recorder supplying the music for the soldiers’ party has played nearly all of its supply reel. When Spalko comes in for the interrogation, shortly after this scene, the supply reel has more, not less, tape on it.