06/26/2007 12:38 PM

Mission Impossible

Berlin Politicians Attack Cruise, Scientology

The German Defense Ministry has said it will not permit Tom Cruise to film scenes in a movie about a plot to kill Hitler at historical World War II sites in Berlin. The reason: Politicians don't want Germany to be seen as promoting the Scientology cult.

Actor Tom Cruise plans to play Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg.

Actor Tom Cruise plans to play Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg.

Germany's Defense Ministry has said it will ban the Hollywood makers of a film about a plot to kill Hitler from shooting scenes at military sites in Berlin because its heartthrob star, Tom Cruise, is a Scientologist. Filming is expected to start in July on "Valkyrie," a drama about a failed plot hatched by Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg to kill Hitler using a briefcase bomb.

Defense Ministry spokesman Harald Kammerbauer, cited by Reuters, said the fimmakers "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 Bundeswehr (German military) has a special interest in the serious and authentic portrayal of the events of July 20, 1944 and Stauffenberg's person," he added.

According to Reuters, Cruise's producing partner, United Artists Entertainment CEO Paula Wagner, issued a sharp rebuke, saying that the actor's "personal beliefs have absolutely no bearing on the movie's plot, themes or content."

In Germany, the government views Scientology as a money-making cult rather than a legitimate church.

During a session on Friday in the Bundestag, Germany's parliament, the cult expert for the governing conservative Christian Democrats, Antje Blumenthal, said that Defense Minister Franz-Josef Jung told her "there was no question" about whether filming could take place at German facilities.

According to the Berlin daily Der Tagesspiegel, however, there has been no official request to do any filming at the Bendlerblock memorial inside the Defense Ministry, where Stauffenberg planned the plot and was later executed.

"Currently there is no application for a filming permit on any Defense Ministry property," a spokesman told the paper.

A Nazi-Like Organization?

But Blumenthal has remained undeterred in her campaign against the actor and the cult, whose beliefs are based on the science fiction writings of L. Ron Hubbard. "We have to present a united front against Scientology," she said. Blumenthal accused the organization of spreading views in the tradition of National Socialism – "and I find it, to say the least, odd that someone who represents this organization would be able to film at the site of a memorial to resistance against National Socialism of all places."

Any filming at Bendlerblock, she told Der Tagesspiegel, "would be public relations work done for this organization, and that's not the sort of thing we need to support, especially since Mr. Cruise misses no opportunity to promote Scientology."

A party spokesman for the Christian Democrats in the city of Berlin took the statement even further, telling the paper: "Resistance against the National Socialist dictatorship must not be abused for the PR purposes of a dangerous and totalitarian brainwashing organization like Scientology."



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