The 2008 film, 'Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull', is causing problems in 2012, as a real-life "Indiana Jones" has filed a lawsuit against Lucasfilm, over the crystal skull depicted in the movie.
The lawsuit has been filed by the director of the Institute of Archaeology of Belize, Dr. Jaime Awe. In the suit, he claims that the crystal skull depicted in the film is an illegal copy of an artifact stolen from Belize 88 years ago. The suit also states that the crystal skull is wrongly attributed to Mayan culture.
The Hollywood Reporter, calling this "one of the most entertaining lawsuits of the year," says that Dr. Awe is demanding the return of the rare artifact's replica. Apparently he claims this was stolen by the treasure-hunting family Mitchell-Hedges nearly 90 years ago.
The complaint reads, "Lucasfilm never sought, nor was given permission to utilize the Mitchell-Hedges Skull or its likeness in the Film. To date, Belize has not participated in any of the profits derived from the sale of the Film or the rights thereto."
Dr. Awe is seeking damages for 'illegal profits' made by the film studio, for using an alleged replica of the crystal skull in the blockbuster 'Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.'
The film grossed over $780 million worldwide and Dr. Awe argues that Belize maintains the "right, title and interest in and to the Mitchell-Hedges Skull and its likeness." And therefore also to a share of the spoils.
Sounding like yet another in the Indiana Jones series, Dr Awe is claiming that an adventurer named F.A. Mitchell-Hedges traveled to the Central American country back in the 1920s. Reportedly his adopted daughter dug up a crystal skull under a collapsed altar in Belize. The skull was then taken to America in 1930 and then reportedly traveled with the father to the UK, where supposedly it remained until Mitchell-Hedges' death in 1959.
The skull was then in the adopted daughter's possession, and later belonged to her husband in Indiana. Apparently the family made money by exhibiting the skull.
However, in the film, Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) discovers the crystal skull in Peru, and the treasure is portrayed as being of an "unspecified Native American origin."
Whether the Plaintiff will have any luck in the lawsuit remains to be seen, but crystal skulls have always been popular with adventurers worldwide, as they allegedly possess supernatural powers. Often when archaeologists test crystal skulls, they are found to be fake.
There are, however, reportedly four authentic crystal skulls known to exist in the world; three of these are on display at public museums in the UK, France and Washington DC. The fourth is claimed to be with the family of a 1920's adventurer named F.A. Mitchell-Hedges, in Indiana, so maybe there is something to the story.
AFP reports that neither Lucasfilm - sold by its founder and "Star Wars" creator George Lucas to Disney in October for over $4 billion - nor Paramount reacted immediately to news of the lawsuit.