Cruise films resistance fighter's execution
24 September 2007, Berlin (dpa) - Tom Cruise filmed the execution of the German army resistance leader who attempted to assassinate Adolf Hitler in 1944, at the site where he was put to death, in the early hours of Sunday morning.
24 September 2007
Berlin (dpa) - Tom Cruise filmed the execution of the German army resistance leader who attempted to assassinate Adolf Hitler in 1944, at the site where he was put to death, in the early hours of Sunday morning.
German authorities initially refused permission for filming in the historic Bendler Block in Berlin, but later agreed on condition respect was shown to Claus Schenk von Stauffenberg and his co-plotters.
German actor Matthias Schweighoefer, who plays a member of the firing squad, said a minute's silence had been observed by the cast and crew to honour Stauffenberg, a Bavarian count and colonel in Hitler's Wehrmacht.
Cruise, who plays Stauffenberg in the film Valkyrie, was present, along with his wife Katie Holmes.
Schweighoefer said Cruise had spoken to those present, thanking the German authorities for permission to film at the Bendler Block, which contains a memorial to the wartime resistance and is currently used by the Defence Ministry.
Stauffenberg and three other members of the plot to kill Hitler were executed there immediately after the plot failed.
The filming of Valkyrie in Berlin has been beset by controversy from the start.
There were strong objections in Germany from the outset to the idea that Cruise should play a German hero, both on the grounds that he does not look like Stauffenberg and more cogently that Cruise is a Scientology devotee, while Stauffenberg was a Catholic.
The original ban on filming in the Bendler Block was even referred to in a recent US State Department report on religious freedoms, which criticized Germany for discriminating against Scientology.
Stauffenberg and three other plotters were shot at the site when the July 20, 1944 bid to blow up Adolf Hitler in his Wolf's Lair headquarters failed.
Filming has been beset by problems. Extras playing Wehrmacht soldiers were hurt last month when they fell off a period truck after the wooden side fell down as it rounded a bend on a Berlin street.
Legal proceedings regarding the incident are underway.
Subject: German news