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‘Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom’ Is Turning 40 — See The Cast Then and Now!

Plus, learn which 80's star had a cameo


Four decades ago, while many people embraced the Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom cast, they nonetheless criticized the film for being too far-fetched, too dark and violent and a poor sequel to its predecessor, Raiders of the Lost Ark. In India, where the movie takes place, the film was not even released in theaters because of its portrayal of Indian culture, which many found inaccurate.

However, for fans of Temple of Doom – which was released on May 23, 1984 – the movie, despite its major flaws, still provides a rip-roaring fun adventure with nonstop action. Who could forget the scene where Indiana Jones, nicknamed “Indy,” jumps out of a sabotaged plane with his lady companion and a young boy in an inflatable yellow raft and slides down a snowy mountain into water, which leads them to the Indian village that pleads for the archaeologist’s help retrieving stolen Sankara Stones?

Who could forget cinema’s most disgusting dinner, with snakes, giant beetles and monkey brains? Who could forget the requisite Indiana Jones encounter with some sort of icky critters in a dingy, hidden chamber – in this case, giant bugs?

And then, there’s the roller coaster-like chase on runaway mine trains, nail-biting fighting on a rickety rope bridge and many other memorable scenes.

MUST READ: 20 of the Best Movies From 1984 — Celebrating Their 40th Anniversary This Year!

Harrison Ford and Kate Capshaw in 'Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom' (1984)
Harrison Ford and Kate Capshaw in ‘Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom’ (1984) Pictures

Many of us were in elementary school when Temple of Doom came out, and we got frightened by the intense and scary scenes in the temple with the Thuggee cult’s human sacrifice. That’s why Temple of Doom, rated PG, was — along with that year’s Gremlins — the impetus for creating the PG-13 rating. It fell short of an R rating, which would eliminate a good portion of the movie’s audience, but it was just too much for PG.

One of the things that makes this megahit – it was the No. 2 movie of 1984, grossing more than $179 million – unusual is that its cast only had one pre-existing A-list star in Harrison Ford. Kate Capshaw had plenty of acting experience, but got her big break with Temple of Doom. Most of the remaining key members of the cast are from India or China, and they were not well-known in American films. So, what are they doing now?

Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones

Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones
1984/2024 Pictures; Frazer Harrison / Staff/Getty

Even in his early 80s, Harrison Ford — one of Hollywood’s most famous veteran actors — has continued to play the legendary Indiana Jones character in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1999), Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008) and, most recently, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (2023). Will there be a sixth film? Sorry, fans: In an interview with Men’s Health, Ford confirmed that he is retiring from playing Dr. Jones.

“This is the final film in the series, and this is the last time I’ll play the character,” Ford said. “I anticipate that it will be the last time that he appears in a film.”

We thank Ford for the decades of entertainment. Long live Indy!

MUSt READ: Young Harrison Ford: Amazing Throw-Back Photos that You Have to See to Believe

Kate Capshaw as Willie Scott: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom Cast

Kate Capshaw as Willie Scott: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom cast
1984/2024 Pictures;Amy Sussman / Staff/Getty

Today she’s the wife of film legend Steven Spielberg, the two meeting while filming Temple of Doom. In the flick, she plays the ditzy, high-maintenance and hilarious “Anything Goes” actress Willie Scott.

Willie is so not cut out for Indy’s roughing-it adventures; in fact, she even rubs expensive perfume on the head of the elephant she is riding. The pachyderm gets its revenge by spraying Willie with its trunk and throwing her into the dirty water below.

And one of the movie’s funniest moments comes when Indy, Willie and Short Round — his kid sidekick — are camping out in the jungle, and Willie keeps shrieking at the critters she encounters. “That’s why they call it the jungle, sweetheart!” Jones says dryly.

In real life, Capshaw – whose everyday name is Kathleen Sue Spielberg – had played a few roles after working as a special-education teacher in Missouri, but she got her big break with the Indiana Jones film. After that, she had roles in several films until 2002. She is retired from acting and has a career as a painter.

Amrish Puri as Mola Ram

Amrish Puri as Mola Ram
1984/1990’ Pictures/ IMDB

Indian actor Amrish Puri gave us nightmares with his super-creepy portrayal of Mola Ram, the leader of the dark, violent Thuggee cult who ripped a young man’s heart right out of his chest before lowering his cage into a hell-like pit of fire. (No wonder parents complained about the PG rating!)

The Bollywood actor played mostly villains in largely Hindi-language films, and worked as an insurance salesman before establishing his acting career. Although Puri usually played the bad guy, Ford described him as one of the kindest actors he had worked with. Imagine that: Indy and Mola Ram had a great camaraderie when the cameras stopped and they weren’t trying to throw each other off a flimsy bridge into a crocodile-infested river! Puri died in 2005 at age 72 after acting in more than 450 films.

Ke Huy Quan as Short Round: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom Cast

Key Huy Quan as Short Round: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom cast
1984/2023 Pictures;L. Busacca / Contributor/Getty

Aww, remember cute little Short Round, the street urchin Jones picks up in Shanghai? The young boy, played by Vietnamese-born Ke Huy Quan, becomes Indy’s loyal sidekick and provides comic relief with his spunky sweetness. Quan went on to play roles as Data in The Goonies and Jasper Kwong in sitcom Head of the Class for two seasons.

He quit acting due to lack of opportunities in the late 1990s and attended the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts to earn a film degree. He went on to work as a stunt coordinator and assistant director. Recently, Quan returned to acting with his role as Waymond Wang in Everything Everywhere All at Once in 2022, and he got an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

After that, he took on a key role in season two of the Disney+ series, Loki. Way to go, “Shorty!”

MUST READ: ‘The Goonies’ Cast Then and Now: Catch Up With the Stars of This 80s Cult Classic

Raj Singh as Little Maharaja

Raj Singh as Little Maharaja Pictures

A big surprise in the movie comes when we meet the Maharaja and discover that he’s just a boy king, as played by actor Raj Singh, who is about 13 years old. His role as the wicked Little Maharaja, who is part of the Thuggee cult due to being drugged, is one of only three film credits for him, the others being Kranti in 1981 and Agneepath in 1990.

Little is known about Singh, but an Indiana Jones fan website says that he now lives in Chicago and works for United Airlines.

Roy Chiao as Chatter Lal: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom cast

Roy Chiao as Chatter Lal: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom cast
1984/ Pictures; IMDB

Chinese villain Lao Che – played by Hong Kong actor Roy Chiao – wasn’t on screen for long, but in the opening 15 minutes the character set the pace for an exciting movie with nonstop action and bad guys, climaxing with the rare moment where the villain outsmarts Indiana Jones.

A grinning Indy stands in the twin-propeller plane he just boarded, laughs and shouts, “Nice try, Lao Che!” Then, the door to the plane closes, and we gasp as we see the Lao Che logo on it. “Goodbye, Dr Jones!” Lao Che laughs with a sneer. Actor Chiao, who died in 1999, worked in numerous (mostly Chinese) films starting in 1950. Chiao also played the role of Tanaka in the 1988 movie Bloodsport.

Dan Aykroyd

Dan Aykroyd as Weber
1984/ Pictures;Shareif Ziyadat / Contributo/Getty

Did you notice that movie star Dan Aykroyd appeared in Temple of Doom? Neither did we, until we saw his name in the cast list and re-watched the movie on alert for his cameo appearance. Akroyd, in his early 30s at the time, plays the brief role of Weber, a British military officer who meets Dr. Jones’ car at the airport and escorts him and Willie — a famous singer whom Weber enthusiastically recognizes — and Short Round to the doomed plane. It’s unusual for a high-profile actor to play such a tiny role. Aykroyd’s most recent part was in Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire, which was released in March 2024.

MUST READ: Who Ya Gonna Call? See the ‘Ghostbusters’ 1984 Cast Then and Now!

For all of our favorite 1984 movies, click here!

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