Rüdiger Rossig | Journalist | Novinar

Mission: Valkyrie

Many in Germany do not want a Scientologist to play the man who tried to kill Hitler | By Ruediger Rossig

In Hollywood's "Mission: Impossible" trilogy, there wasn¹t anything that Tom Cruise couldn't tackle. But now, the U.S. actor¹s engagement to play a German hero is meeting resistance in Berlin.

Tom Cruise visited the German capital in mid-June. Among other things, the actor's mission was to scout locations for "Valkyrie", a new United Artists film about an incident during World War II. In this movie, 45-year-old Cruise is going to play the role of Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg who tried to kill Hitler on July 20, 1944. Though he failed, the army colonel is regarded as a hero.

Cruise is sometimes criticized as an active member of the controversial Scientology Church. The German government regards Scientology as a sect masquerading as a religious community in order to make money. The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution keeps Scientology under surveillance.

That is why, with Germany's tabloids hailing Cruise's arrival in Berlin, critical voices arose, too. Social Democrat Parliamentarian Klaus Uwe Benneter publicly said the Scientologist actor playing the famous resistance fighter was "a slap in the face to all upright democrats, all resistance fighters in the Third Reich and all victims of Scientology." Liberal Hans-Joachim Otto, who heads the Bundestag's commission on culture, said giving Cruise the role of Stauffenberg would rub people the wrong way.

The hero's son, Berthold Schenk von Stauffenberg, also objected to the Hollywood star playing the role of his father. The film is "bound to be rubbish," he said. "Cruise should go climb a mountain or surf in the Caribbean," he added. "Whatever it is, I don't care as long as he keeps his hands off my father."

However, the protests cannot prevent United Artists from producing the movie. They are now negotiating with film studios in Babelsberg near Berlin to shoot "Valkyrie" there.