Copy of Hitler HQ built for Tom Cruise film

12th July 2007, Comments 0 comments

12 July 2007, Berlin (dpa) - A replica of Adolf Hitler's secret wartime HQ was being built near Berlin Wednesday with just a week to go before filming of a controversial Tom Cruise movie begins, an official said.

12 July 2007

Berlin (dpa) - A replica of Adolf Hitler's secret wartime HQ was being built near Berlin Wednesday with just a week to go before filming of a controversial Tom Cruise movie begins, an official said.

Cruise is to play the chief plotter in the true story about a vain bid to assassinate Hitler with a bomb in 1944.

The film team have been banned from the Berlin building where the plotter, Count Claus von Stauffenberg, was executed by Nazi firing squad.

Officially this is because of fears that filming would lower the dignity of a memorial.

But German politicians had earlier assailed Cruise, 45, over his advocacy of Scientology and demanded such a ban. Scientology is suspected by many Germans of being anti-democracy.

US commentators, cinema industry leaders and part of the media have attacked the ban, insisting Cruise's beliefs have no relevance to his role in director Bryan Singer's movie Valkyrie.

Stauffenberg put a bomb under a table in a building at the Wolf's Lair, Hitler's secret base in the woods near what is Ketrzyn in contemporary Poland. But Hitler survived the blast and within days many of those involved in the plot on his life were rounded up.

The scene was being recreated in woods at Gross Koeris, 50 kilometres south-east of downtown Berlin.

Reporters were unable to see the set, with the site sealed off by private security teams, roadblocks and kilometres of red-and-white tape.

Filming, partly funded by a German government grant, is scheduled to begin July 19, according to Ulrich Arnts, chief executive of the Schenkenlaendchen district administration.

Stauffenberg is revered in Germany as a national hero for his July 20, 1944 bid to kill Hitler, but leading German journalist Frank Schirrmacher has pointed out that the count had anti-democratic beliefs.

Studio Babelsberg, the German movie studio which is co-producing Valkyrie, declined to give details of the script.

Its deputy chief executive, Christoph Fisser, said "Cruise views Stauffenberg as a hero and will play him that way." He said script had been carefully researched.

Reporters say Cruise has already been sighted in Berlin. City newspapers say a huge suite was created in a luxury downtown hotel specially for Cruise and wife Katie Holmes. Film publicists decline to confirm this.

In Schenkenlaendchen, Arnts said two other nearby locations were also being prepared for filming: A former East German Air Force reserve airfield and an area of recently burned-over forest.

At the airfield at Loepten, warning signs said only that the airfield would be in use for takeoffs and landings and there was no word of filming.

The project, reportedly also starring Kenneth Branagh, Carice van Houten, Thomas Kretschmann, Christian Berkel and Tom Wilkinson, is reported to be costing 80 million euros.

DPA

Subject: German news

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