No, its not Islam. Not this time. Guess again:
By Tony Paterson in Berlin
Germany has banned Tom Cruise from shooting scenes at military sites for his film about a plot to kill Adolf Hitler because the Hollywood actor is a member of the Church of Scientology.
Cruise was to play the part of Claus von Stauffenberg, a member of the German nobility who attempted to assassinate Hitler in July 1944. The film, entitled Valkyrie, is due to go on release next year and its makers planned to start shooting in Berlin next month.
However, Germany’s Defence Ministry formally banned the actor, who is also one of the movie’s producers, from filming at authentic military sites in the German capital which are central to the movie’s plot.
“The film-makers 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,” Harald Kammerbauer, a Defence Ministry spokesman, said yesterday.
In a further remark which appeared to express utter disapproval at the choice of Tom Cruise for the part, Mr Kammerbauer said: “In general, the German armed forces have a special interest in the serious and authentic portrayal of the events of 20 July 1944 and Stauffenberg’s person.”
The German government usually prides itself on upholding artistic freedoms and normally maintains a position of neutrality when dealing with film projects.
However, the Church of Scientology is regarded with suspicion in Germany, where it is widely considered to be a cult that masquerades as a religion.
* Perhaps the Germans should dig a little deeper. They might find more cults that masquerade as a religion.
The organisation, which opened a European headquarters in Berlin this year, is kept under surveillance by German intelligence services.
Tom Cruise’s character, Claus von Stauffenberg, was opposed to the Nazis’ treatment of the Jews, despite being a German army officer. On the afternoon of 20 July 1944, he went to Hitler’s “Wolf’s Lair” headquarters in East Prussia and planted a briefcase bomb next to the Nazi leader. However, Hitler was only wounded in the attack. Stauffenberg was caught soon after and executed.
His family has not welcomed the decision to use Tom Cruise to play the part. Berthold Maria Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg, 72, von Stauffenberg’s son, dismissed the forthcoming film. “It is unpleasant for me that an avowed Scientologist will be playing my father,” he said. “I had hoped for a long time that the project was just a publicity stunt on the part of Cruise. Clearly that appears not to be the case.”
Cruise himself was not immediately available for comment.