much as I dread, fear and racially profile Indiana Jones IV, recent casting news has gotten me in good spirits. No, not Shia – I like the kid, but am not crazy about him in the franchise – but Cate Blanchett was a big plus for me. And now news that the fantastic Ray Winstone, recently seen as Jack Nicholson’s right hand man in The Departed, will be coming aboard the project has me just about dancing for joy.

According to the Hollywood Reporter Winstone’s major role in the film is top secret, but they hear he’s playing Indy’s sidekick. Now do they mean sidekick like ShortRound, or do they mean that he’s taking the place of the late Denholm Elliot’s character, Marcus Brody (although they did sort of ill advisedly make Brody a Short Round in Last Crusade)? Beats me, but whichever way they go, Winstone is a great actor and his addition to any movie makes that movie just a little bit more interesting.

The news about Blanchett and Winstone probably mean that the announcement flood should start soon; Indy IV is shooting this June in Los Angeles and around the world, and since I’m pretty sure this one is called Indiana Jones and the City of the Gods and deals with South America (after opening in the Nevada desert), expect lots of jungle locales.