International Herald Tribune: Tom Cruise’s role as anti-Nazi hero riles some in Germany

By Michael Cieply and Mark Landler
Friday, June 29, 2007

LOS ANGELES: When the director Bryan Singer decided to cast Tom Cruise as Colonel Claus Schenk von Stauffenberg, the German Army officer who
unsuccessfully tried to blow up Hitler toward the end of World War II, he thought he had dealt with all the possible pitfalls.

There was the knotty matter of accents, but the director figured Cruise and everybody else in the movie „Valkyrie“ would do fine if they spoke unaffected English. The cost of affording the high-wattage Cruise could also be problematic, but the star took the job for a nominal salary, agreeing to get his cut after the tickets were sold – a deal helped by his part-ownership of United Artists, the studio behind the picture.

What Singer did not reckon with is Germany’s extreme wariness of, even hostility toward, Cruise’s religion.


„Scientology is a totalitarian ideology,“ said Berthold Graf von Stauffenberg, the eldest son of Count von Stauffenberg and a retired West German army general. „The fact that an avowed Scientologist like Cruise is supposed to play the victim of a totalitarian regime is purely sick.“


„In Europe, but in Germany especially, we are more sensitive to totalitarian ideologies,“ said Ursula Caberta, the head of a government task force in Hamburg that opposes Scientology’s expansion in Germany.


„Tom Cruise is not just an actor who is a Scientologist,“ Caberta said.  „He is an ambassador for Scientology. All totalitarian systems have their celebrities to open doors for them.“

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