Tom Cruise vs. Germany: It's a Tie Game

Posted on July 3, 2007

For those of you keeping score, Germany appears to be ahead in the ongoing match between the former Weimar Republic and Scientologist Tom Cruise. Cruise wants to film his World War II epic, Valkyrie in Berlin, in various official government buildings. The grandson of the man whom Cruise will portray in the film is furious that Cruise is desecrating the memory of his father, a hero who tried his best to assassinate Hitler. Germany first banned Cruise from making the film at all because he's part of Scientology, because it is a banned cult. But now, he can make the film in Germany, but won't be allowed to film in any official buildings. Got all that?

Variety reports on how Cruise and the film are getting some local support:

Writing in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, the director of "The Lives of Others," said Cruise's star power would make the neglected story of Stauffenberg's heroism known to the entire world. Cruise, in the role of Stauffenberg, "would do more to promote Germany's image than 10 World Cup soccer championships could ever do."

Execs at Studio Babelsberg, which is partnering with United Artists on the production, have also said the project would be a great benefit to Germany.

Variety also says the Defense Ministry approved shooting at the Bendlerblock but then it was denied by the Finance Ministry, which has the final sign off on permits.

Cruise is soldiering on with the project. No doubt they will just recreate the Bendlerblock building with CGI. Or they could shoot the exteriors in Berlin and the interiors on a sound stage. Or, the German Finance Ministry spokesman might suddenly convert to Scientology and approvals to film anywhere Tom wants will mysteriously appear. It could happen.

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