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"It's whoever's in the room, isn't it, Mac?"
Indiana Jones, on McHale's allegiances.[src]

Colonel George "Mac" McHale was a British companion of Indiana Jones throughout the 1940s and '50s. Friend to the archaeologist during World War II, he served as a spy for MI6, a counterpart to Jones's position within the US Office of Strategic Services, and they were partners for several missions in Europe and the Pacific.

However, during the Cold War, Mac became a double agent for the Soviet Union when the Russians took advantage of the substantial gambling debts he had accrued which put him at odds with Jones during Irina Spalko's pursuit of the Crystal Skull of Akator although Mac struggled to truly sever their friendship even while having a hand in putting the archaeologist in life-threatening situations.

Biography[]

World War II[]

George McHale was born around the years between the end of the eigthteen century and the beginning of the twentyth century.[2] In the lead up to, and throughout the Second World War, George McHale worked for MI6.[1] In 1939,[5] Mac met World War I veteran Indiana Jones, who had recently begun working for US intelligence. During their first encounter, Jones was being threatened by a luger and Mac somehow saved his life, putting the archaeologist in Mac's debt.[1] During the war, Mac had a girlfriend named Penelope, and he would frequently give Jones an updated letter to deliver to her in case he was killed in the conflict.[6] One such correspondence was written on D-Day (June 6, 1944).[4]

Mac and Indy teamed up regularly during the conflict. On one occasion, the pair disguised themselves as Nazis to steal the cipher machine responsible for generating Germany's Enigma codes. McHale saved Jones's life again when they traveled to Jakarta, Indonesia together and his friend felt the needle of amnesia darts. In 1942, they went on a mission to Flensburg.[7]

In 1943, McHale and Jones got a break from their wartime espionage duties, and went to Haiti in search of a large black pearl known as the Heart of Darkness. While Jones was no stranger to the supernatural, McHale received a swift education in the existence of voodoo and zombies.[6]

With the war's end, the political landscape changed and the height of the Cold War brought the threat of the Soviets in place of the Nazis.[1] Mac was fond of women and gambling to the extreme,[8] and eventually racked up a substantial debt, which Soviet agents capitalized on by secretly buying McHale's allegiance.[1]

Journey to Akator[]

"I thought we were friends, Mac."
Indiana Jones[src]
Kingdom of the Crystal Skull - Mac and Indy held at gunpoint by Russians

In 1957,[1] McHale was visiting[9] Indy while he was digging in some ruins in Mexico when a group of Soviets led by Antonin Dovchenko kidnapped them. They took the duo to a secret US government facility in Nevada where their team leader, Irina Spalko, wanted to find a mysterious artifact stored somewhere within the warehouse. Spalko believed Jones knew where it was, and threatened to have Mac killed if he did not cooperate. Indy complied and assisted the Soviets in locating the artifact, but he attempted to escape with Mac by threatening to shoot Spalko. However, Mac stopped him at gunpoint, revealing his duplicity. Eventually, Indy managed to get away using an underground rocket sled while the pursuing Mac narrowly avoided a gruesome death as he ducked out of the way of the sled's engine flaring just in time. He left the area by jeep with Spalko, who congratulated him on his work.[1]

Mac was present in Nazca, Peru when Jones and Mutt Williams visited the sanatorium where Harold Oxley, prisoner of the Soviets, had been held, and then later found the Crystal Skull of Akator at Francisco de Orellana's resting place. Mac tipped off Spalko's men as to the whereabouts Indy and Mutt, and the two were captured and taken to a Russian camp in Brazil. There, Mac tried to convince Indy to cooperate like back "...in Berlin." Indy refused, and instead promised to break Mac's nose; a promise he fulfilled shortly after Mac stopped Spalko unleashing the skull's powers on an unsuspecting Jones. On their way to Akator, when Indy and his company managed to disband the Soviet convoy, Mac, to save his own life, convinced Indy that he was in fact a double agent working for the CIA. He explained that the earlier reference to Berlin was a hint, since both Indy and Mac worked there as double agents during World War II,[1] and that he had sent his handler, General Ross to bail Jones out of trouble after the Hangar 51 incident.[10]

Mac accompanied Indy's group to Akator, a legendary city of gold, but he hadn't changed sides at all: he was leaving behind transponders so that the Soviets could track them down. Inside the temple, his betrayal was revealed when Spalko and Soviet troops arrived; Mac explained to a confused Jones that he was no triple agent, but had simply lied about being a double. When the Crystal Skull of Akator was returned to its owner and the unearthly spacecraft opened an interdimensional portal to its origin reality, Mac attempted to gather the city's golden relics before he escaped the fragmenting temple. In his rush to collect the treasure, he stumbled and fell. Despite the betrayals, Indy tried to save Mac with his whip.[1] However, the gold that Mac had stored on his pockets had unlikely magnetic properties that were dragging him towards the portal and risked bringing Jones along with him. Mac also felt that wherever he was being dragged to represented the ultimate gamble, so he decided to take his chances on the other side.[9] Mac reassured his partner that he'd be "alright" and allowed himself to be pulled into the portal, giving Jones time to escape.[1]

Legacy[]

Mac's sacrifice arguably allowed Indy to escape with his life alongside Mutt, Marion and Oxley.[1] Once they made it back to the United States of America, Mutt, Marion and Oxley, whose sanity had been restored, provided their accounts of Indy's claims about Mac's involvement in the situation that made the FBI mistake him for a secret Communist, which corraborated with the American government's investigation on Mac's activities, allowing Jones' name to be cleared up and his job at Marshall College reinstated with a promotion.[11]

Twelve years after Mac's death, Indy was inadvertently reminded to him by his goddaughter Helena Shaw when he came to Hotel L'Atlantique in Tangier, Morocco to prevent her from selling one of the halves of the Antikythera he and her father Basil had previously recovered to the highest bidder. To dissuade him from ruining her auction, Shaw referred to her godfather as "Jonesy", the same nickname Mac gave him, leading Jones to repeat the nickname with contempt, evidently feeling still a bit sore for Mac's betrayal and death even after more than a decade.[12]

In the early 21st century, before its eventual publishing, Indy's journal was circulated by the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation to intelligence agents from North Korea, China and Cuba. Among its contents, there was one of the letters Mac had written for Penelope if he were to die in the Second World War. Further research acknowledged McHale as a colonel who seemed to have accompanied Jones throughout most of the conflict, having additional information of his background in the federation's file 79-1331-GM.[4]

Personality and traits[]

George McHale had a cheerful air and a passion for gambling and women. He also suffered from musophobia. The end of World War II saw him take his interests to the extreme, however, and caused his reliability in telling the whole truth to waver.[8] He could also be possessive in his relationships with the opposite sex, having urged his wartime girlfriend Penelope to stay single for a while if he were to die in the conflict, to acknowledge his sacrifice, and then seek for someone to fill the void he left, as long as that someone wasn't his friend Indiana Jones, whom he jealously insisted wasn't Penelope's type.[4]

A self-confessed capitalist, the Soviets bought his allegiance and Mac betrayed Jones after his gambling had led to substantial debt.[1] Mac's true loyalties were then called into question during the search for Akator.[5] As long as Jones had known him, Mac had always fought dirty. Treacherous personality aside, for which he was unapologetic anyway, it seemed McHale still regarded Indy as a friend to the very end, insisting that the Russians stop exposing Indiana to the Crystal Skull of Akator's power after the archaeologist began to convulse and let himself be pulled to his doom so Jones wouldn't share his fate, acknowledging he hadn't been a good friend in his life and hoping he would be a better one in the next.[9]

Behind the scenes[]

"Mac is a double agent who has forgotten he's a double agent. He has switched sides so many times, he doesn't know who he's working for anymore."
Ray Winstone[src]

George "Mac" McHale was portrayed by Ray Winstone in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.[1] Winstone had previously been considered for the role of Bail Prestor Organa in the Star Wars prequel trilogy. While Jimmy Smits ultimately won the part,[13] Winstone became the first choice to play Mac after director Steven Spielberg saw him in Jonathan Glazer's 2000 film Sexy Beast.[14] The character was erroneously credited with the surname "Michale" in the film. IndianaJones.com also listed the character's surname as Michale, as did the DVD's featurettes.[15] Ultra HD home video releases and streaming platforms have since corrected the spelling. Coincidentally, Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is set in 1957, the same year in which Ray Winstone was born.

Although the character was created by Kingdom of the Crystal Skull writer David Koepp, McHale seems to be developed from Yuri Makovsky and Porfi, two characters from Frank Darabont's unrealized Indiana Jones and the City of the Gods screenplay. Like McHale, Makovsky was a spy who betrayed Indiana Jones at the beginning of the story. Also, during the story's climax, Jones makes an effort to help Makovsky survive the destruction of the lost city of Los Dioses (Akator in the final film). Unlike McHale, however, Makovsky is given no hint of redemption, and after being saved, Jones hits and "exiles" him from the United States of America. Porfi was an ally of the main antagonist (Peter Belasko in the City of the Gods script) and becomes obsessed with the wealth of Los Dioses, leading to his downfall.[16]

In order to shoot the scene where Mac is pulled into the portal, Winstone was attached to a harness that swung him away from Harrison Ford (Indiana Jones) with a wind effect later added through CGI, as seen in the featurette Production Diary: Making of "The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull".[15]

Img445

Mac being threatened in the deleted scene.

There was originally going to be a scene in Crystal Skull where Spalko and her men coerce Jones into helping them search for the New Mexico specimen by threatening Mac's life outside of Hangar 51. When Jones refuses to cooperate, Mac is placed under the wheel of a truck driven by Dovchenko which forces Jones to comply in order to spare the life of his friend. The scene, despite being filmed, was cut from the finished version of the film.[17] Nevertheless, this scene is retained in both the Crystal Skull junior novelization[18] and the adult novel.[9]

While writing his Indiana Jones and the Army of the Dead novel, one of the things Del Rey told author Steve Perry to include in the story alongside the general timeframe they had come up with was to flesh out at least some of Mac's backstory, following his introduction in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.[19]

According to producer Frank Marshall, McHale acts as a spin on René Emile Belloq and Sallah, giving him characteristics of an anti-hero, though Marshall incorrectly referred to Mac as a friend and competitor archaeologist while talking to MTV News in 2007 about Winstone's role in the film.[20] He is also Jones' World War II counterpart to Remy Baudouin. Mac can also be seen as a male Elsa Schneider, as both were double agents for Jones and his enemies. He's both an anti-hero and an anti-villain.

Appearances[]

Sources[]

Notes and references[]

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
  2. 2.0 2.1 Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull Annual 2009 describes McHale as in his fifties in 1957, indicating that he could had been born between 1898 and 1907.
  3. Indiana Jones Movie Photo Cards
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 The Lost Journal of Indiana Jones
  5. 5.0 5.1 Top Trumps Specials: Indiana Jones (Card: George "Mac" McHale)
  6. 6.0 6.1 Indiana Jones and the Army of the Dead
  7. Indiana Jones: The Ultimate Guide places the Flensburg mission in 1942 while The Lost Journal of Indiana Jones mentions that Jones and McHale were in Flensburg at the war's end for some final action (May 1945) and that Jones hadn't been to Flensburg since World War I.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Indiana Jones: The Ultimate Guide
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull novel
  10. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull comic adaptation. McHale later revealed that he wasn't a CIA agent, but it is unclear how he knew that Ross had in fact been in Nevada to get Jones out of the FBI interrogation.
  11. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull comic adaptation
  12. Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny
  13. RAY WINSTONE: EPISODE I's ALMOST BAIL... at STAR WARS AFICIONADO
  14. The Complete Making of Indiana Jones
  15. 15.0 15.1 Production Diary: Making of "The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull".
  16. Indiana Jones and the City of the Gods
  17. Indiana Jones 4 - Deleted Scenes at TheRaider.net
  18. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull junior novel
  19. Interview with Steve Perry at El Recoveco del Geek (Spanish site)
  20. 'Indiana Jones' Roles For Cate Blanchett, Ray Winstone Revealed Exclusively To MTV News at MTV (Web archive)
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