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Cruise Gets Go-Ahead

DW staff (win)
September 14, 2007

In a complete turnaround to an initial ban on US actor Tom Cruise to film at a Berlin memorial to the men who tried to kill Adolf Hitler, German government officials have now reportedly changed their minds.

Tom Cruise as Count Claus von Stauffenberg during a film shoot
Cruise thinks it's important to film the movie on original locationsImage: AP Photo/Studio Babelsberg AG, Frank Connor

German tabloid Bild reported on Friday, Sept. 14, that the makers of "Valkyrie," a film about failed Hitler assassin Count Claus von Stauffenberg, starring Cruise, will be allowed to shoot key scenes of the movie in a courtyard of the German defense ministry. Stauffenberg and his co-conspirators were executed there after the failed 1944 attempt to kill the Nazi dictator.

"There has been a change of mind at the defense ministry," Thorsten Albig, a spokesman for the German finance ministry, which issues film permits at government buildings, told the paper. "A new request by the film team has received a positive answer."

Concerns about preserving memorial's dignity

A view of the courtyard where Stauffenberg was shot with a memorial statue
A statue honoring Stauffenberg in the courtyardImage: picture-alliance/ dpa

Earlier this year, Cruise's plan to film at the Bendlerblock memorial had been met with resistance from government officials.

According to news reports, German Defense Minister Franz Josef Jung had said that his ministry would not allow filming at the site after one of his party colleagues had voiced concern over Cruise's Scientology membership.

A lawmaker, who had originally urged government officials to deny any request by the filmmakers to use the memorial site, called the turnaround an "unfortunate decision."

"I would have wished for the ministry to stick to its original decision," said Antje Blumenthal, a member of Jung's Christian Democratic Union, in a press statement on Friday. She added that she still believed that there were serious reasons to prohibit filming at the site, but said that she would respect the decision.

In July, Albig had told reporters that the memorial's dignity would be compromised by allowing a film crew to use it.

No Nazi flags allowed

Nazi flags at the German finance ministry in August
Nazi flags at the German finance ministry in AugustImage: picture-alliance/dpa

According to a defense ministry spokesman, film director Brian Singer and ministry officials will jointly visit the memorial to decide what can be filmed there.

Bild reported that government officials will not allow the crew to display Nazi flags at the site. The crew was permitted to fly the flags at the German finance ministry, where filming took place in August.

The tabloid said that the film script called for four scenes to be shot at the memorial, including Stauffenberg's execution.

Cruise feels "great responsibility"

Pictures of Tom Cruise and Claus von Stauffenberg
Cruise resembles StauffenbergImage: picture-alliance

In an interview with German celebrity magazine Bunte in August, Cruise had said he felt it was important that the movie was shot on original locations instead of a studio set.

"We want the inner truth, so to speak, and location helps with that," he said, adding that he urged his critics to wait until they had seen the film.

"I carry a great responsibility to the Germans, for whom a man like Stauffenberg is of deep significance, and I feel this responsibility to the man himself."

In an interview with DW-WORLD.DE, one of Stauffenberg's sons said that he didn't like the fact that Cruise was going to play his father, but added that he had taken no steps to prevent it from happening.