Cruise preaching from the pulpit
Tom Cruise has been banned from making a film in Berlin about a plot to kill Adolf Hitler because the German government says his belief in Scientology is akin to Nazism.
The Hollywood star is set to play Count Claus von Stauffenberg, who almost succeeded in assassinating the Nazi leader in 1944.
The project is due to start production next month but the Germans fear Cruise will use the film, which he is co-producing, as a public relations vehicle for Scientology, which many of the country’s politicians have compared to Nazism.
The German government claims it masquerades as a religion to make money, a charge Scientology leaders reject.
The country has fought against the sect for a decade. It is even under observation by the Federal Agency for the Protection of the Constitution, a body that usually hunts spies, terrorists and neo-Nazis.
One of Germany’s few war heroes, Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg had been deeply opposed to the Nazis’ treatment of the Jews and planted a briefcase bomb under a table near Hitler in his Wolf’s Lair headquarters on July 20, 1944. The bomb went off but only wounded the Fuehrer.
Two hundred of his conspirators were also arrested and killed.
German Defence Minister Franz-Josef Jung has ruled that Cruise should not be allowed to film in the inner courtyard of his ministry where von Stauffenberg was shot.
A Defence Ministry spokesman said: “The film makers will not be allowed to film at German military sites if Count Stauffenberg is played by Tom Cruise, who has publicly professed to being a member of the Scientology cult.
“In general, the German military has a special interest in the serious and authentic portrayal of the events of July 20, 1944 and Stauffenberg as a person.”
However, Cruise’s film producing partner, Paula Wagner, chief executive of United Artists Entertainment, said Cruise’s “personal beliefs have absolutely no bearing on the movie’s plot, themes or content.”
She added: “We believe the film will go a long way toward reminding the world that even within the ranks of the German military, there was real resistance to the Nazi regime.”
The film, to be released next year, will be directed by Bryan Singer and co-star Kenneth Branagh. It is called Valkyrie after Operation Valkyrie, the plot’s codename.