German Extras Hurt in Filming of Nazi Epic Sue Tom Cruise | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 25.08.2008
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German Extras Hurt in Filming of Nazi Epic Sue Tom Cruise

Eleven extras hurt in August last year during shooting for Tom Cruise's film "Valkyrie", on a plot to assassinate Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler, are to seek compensation.

Tom Cruise, left, and Count Claus Schenk von Stauffenberg, right, montage

Cruise plays Stauffenberg in the film, which continues to hit stumbling blocks

An undated photo provided by the Studio Babelsberg AG shows U.S. actor Tom Cruise as failed German Hitler assassin Col. Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg in a scene of the movie 'Valkyrie'

Cruise as Stauffenberg: a controversial leading man

The German extras are demanding $11 million (7 million euros) in compensation from Cruise and production company United Artists, Germany's Focus news magazine reported.

During filming, the extras fell off a period truck from the 1940s when one of its sides collapsed as it rounded a bend in Berlin.

According to the report, their Berlin lawyer, Ariane Bluttner, has warned the group will take their case to a Californian court if the compensation is not paid.

Bruises and head wounds

In August, 2007, the currenet Finance Ministry, previously the Air Force, were decorated with swastika flags for the day's shootng

Berlin streets were dressed in Swastika flags for a shoot

The extras suffered bruises and head wounds. Cruise was not present when the accident occurred.

Valkyrie relates the July 20, 1944 plot to blow up Hitler's Eastern Front military headquarters in Poland, called the Wolf's Lair, while the Nazi leader was holding a war conference there.

In the film, Cruise plays Count Claus Schenk von Stauffenberg, the Wehrmacht colonel who placed the bomb, which failed to kill Hitler.

Stauffenberg and his co-plotters were executed.

Cruise is a producer at UA, a subsidiary of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios.

Film beset by controversy

In August, 2007, extras dressed in Nazi attire on Wilhelmstrassee in Berlin

Accidents can happen on film sets

The filming of "Valkyrie" was beset by controversy from the get-go. Much of it revolved around German objections to Cruise, a Scientologist, playing a Catholic German hero.

In addition, German authorities had initially refused permission for filming in the historic Bendler Block building in Berlin -- the site where von Stauffenberg and his co-plotters were executed -- citing concerns over "the dignity of the place."

The Bendler Block is part of the German Defense Ministry and now holds a memorial to the anti-Nazi resistance.

They later agreed on condition that the production company show respect to Stauffenberg.

Most recently, the film's release date has been pushed back, from this summer to December 2008.

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