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Delta, British Columbia, Canada
I took very early retirement from teaching in '06 and did some traveling in Europe and the UK before settling down to do some private tutoring. As a voracious reader, I have many books waiting in line for me to read. Tell me I shouldn't read something, and I will. I'm a happy, optimistic person and I love to travel and through that believe that life can be a continuous learning experience. I'm looking forward to traveling more some day. I enjoy walking, cycling, water aerobics & and sports like tennis, volleyball, and fastpitch/baseball. I'm just getting into photography as a hobby and I'm enjoying learning all the bits and bobs of my digital camera. My family is everything to me and I'm delighted to be the mother of two girls and the Gramma of a boy and a girl. I may be a Gramma, but I'm at heart just a girl who wants to have fun.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Tom Cruise's new role causes problems with Germans

I noticed this online today and wonder about your comments.

Casting of Scientologist Tom Cruise as German resistance hero raising ire

BERLIN (AP) - Two hot-button issues in Germany - the Nazi era and Scientology - are being pushed simultaneously by a new film in which Tom Cruise plays the country's most-famous anti-Hitler plotter, sparking controversy in Berlin.
Cruise, one of Scientology's best-known adherents, is to play Col. Claus Graf Schenk von Stauffenberg - the aristocratic army officer executed after a failed attempt to assassinate Hitler in 1944 - in director Bryan Singer's new film "Valkyrie."
The film's German co-producers say they were given permission to use the former German general staff headquarters in Berlin, where Stauffenberg worked and where he was executed, and that they plan a detailed, historically accurate treatment.

But word that a Scientologist would play Stauffenberg has rubbed some the wrong way. Germany's government considers Scientology a commercial enterprise that takes advantage of vulnerable people, and critics maintain that one of its adherents should not be playing one of the Nazi-era's few heroes.

Stauffenberg "is to be played by an actor whose sect, through dubious methods, attempts to lure people and make them pliable," Social Democratic lawmaker Klaus Uwe Benneter said on his website. "This is a slap in the face to all upstanding democrats, all resistance fighters during the Third Reich, and all victims of the Scientology sect."
Sabine Weber, a spokeswoman for Scientology in Berlin, said she was "shocked" that politicians would speak out against Cruise starring in the movie, saying that it was a "call to discrimination" against someone because of religious beliefs, which violates German and European human-rights codes.

The film's producers maintain the criticism is misguided, accusing politicians of making hay of a non-issue.
"Basically, some politicians are using the popularity of Tom Cruise to become popular themselves," Carl Woebcken, head of the Babelsberg studio that is slated to co-produce the film in Germany, told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
"This is not a Scientology film, it is a Bryan Singer film, and Bryan Singer is Jewish ... and they want to make this film to show that during the Nazi regime there was heroic resistance," Woebcken said. "The personal beliefs of Tom Cruise have to be separated from his skills as an actor. He is one of the best, if not the best, actors in the world for heroic roles and that is why Bryan Singer approached him."

United Artists called its film "a historically accurate thriller" and said in a statement that "Mr. Cruise's personal beliefs have absolutely no bearing on the movie's plot, themes or content."
Germany's federal agency that tracks extremism has had Scientology under observation for a decade on allegations that it "threatens the peaceful democratic order" of the country. The Scientologists long have battled to end the surveillance, saying it is an abuse of their right to freedom of religion, and the U.S. State Department regularly criticizes Germany in its annual Human Rights Report for the monitoring practice.

Stauffenberg's son Berthold Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg has spoken out against Cruise playing the role, telling the Sueddeutsche Zeitung that "he should keep his fingers off my father," and adding that he feared the movie would be "terrible kitsch."

Defence Minister Franz Josef Jung was quoted as saying such a film involving Cruise could not be made at his Ministry - the same building where Stauffenberg kept his offices and was dragged into the courtyard and shot after his plot failed.

But, Woebcken noted, the film company had not asked to film at the part of the Defence Ministry building occupied by the military, and already has preliminary permission from other agencies to film at the area where Stauffenberg's offices were, and where he was executed.
A Defense Ministry spokesman confirmed that the moviemakers had not asked to film in his ministry's areas, and said if they did, the application would be considered like any other.
Stauffenberg and the other plotters were caught and executed after Hitler survived the explosion at his headquarters in what was then East Prussia.

Woebcken said authorities should be welcoming the decision to shoot the film at original locations.

"The Defense Ministry ... says that if a Stauffenberg film is done, it has to be authentic, and for exactly that reason United Artists wants to do the film in Berlin in the original places," he said. "Otherwise they could have done the film anywhere in the world."
"Valkyrie" is scheduled for release in 2008.

© The Canadian Press, 2007

14 comments:

Josie said...

Apart from the obvious, it's a terrible miscasting of the role. You know who would be perfect is Rufus Sewell. He's a far better actor, and he looks exactly like Col. Schenk von Staufenberg.

Scientology is a bit of a "hard-nosed" sect. A bit fascist, if you will.

jmb said...

Well I think Tom Cruise is a terrible actor and if I never saw him again it would not be my loss.
Although I don't see what his religion has to do with this. However anyone would be better to my mind. Ralph Fiennes made a pretty good German officer in Schindler's List.

pekka said...

The amazing preformance by Fiennes in Schindler's List was absolutely unforgettable. I am with jmb with this one.

I just don't know whether von Staufenberg and the other members of the coup attempt can be described as anti-Nazis but perhaps more like as tired German patriots who saw that the war was already been lost and only killing Hitler could bring the end to the needless continuation of the war. If the message of the film is that he was pure hearted anti-Nazi, I am afraid that some liberties might have been taken with the history.

leslie said...

Josie, I do see the resemblance and he'd probably be a good choice over Tom Cruise. I just can't stand him anymore - don't care how good "they" think is as an actor.

jmb - Ralph Fiennes would also be an excellent choice. Schindler's List is one of my favourite movies, in terms of quality.

pekka - as with most historical movies, I'm sure liberties will be taken, but I hope it will be a true accounting. I'm fascinated by that period of time and WWII.

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