Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull was panned by critics for unrealistic action sequences, but for one Belizean archaeologist the movie hit a little too close to home. Jaime Awe, a real-life Indiana Jones, is suing Disney, LucasFilm and Paramount for using the likeness of a real crystal skull that was stolen from Belize 88 years ago.
Dr Awe, who heads the Institute of Archaeology of Belize, says that Disney had no right to use the crystal skull in the film.
According to Awe, four crystal skulls were seized from Belize. Three of them are on display in London, Paris and Washington. The fourth, according to Awe, was stolen by a treasure hunting family from Belize.
Awe states that the fourth skull was discovered under the altar in an ancient temple in Belize by the daughter of an adventurer named F.A. Mitchell-Hedges. The skull was taken to the US in 1930.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the lawsuit reads:
“[Belize was] an epicenter for nineteenth and early twentieth-century treasure hunters plundering the nation’s Maya ruins under the guise of archaeology. 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.”
The lawsuit was filed in Illinois this week and demands the return of the Crystal Skull. Disney, Lucasfilm, and Paramount have not responded to the lawsuit.