Beliefnet
Idol Chatter

tom_idol.jpgThe Associated Press (via MSNBC.com) is reporting that Germany has declared filming at certain military sites “verboten” for a future Tom Cruise film–thanks to his affiliation with Scientology, which the German governement does not recognize as a religion, but as a cult.
“Valkyrie,” which tells the story of the unsuccessful assassination attempt of Adolph Hitler led by Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, is set for a 2008 release date and will co-star Kenneth Brannagh and be directed by “Superman Return’s” Bryan Singer.
Just months ago, Idol Chatter reported that Stauffenberg’s family members were up in arms over Cruise’s connection to the project. And now the Defence Ministry is making a preemptive strike, saying that the production will not be allowed to film at actual, historic locations if Cruise is to play the revered colonel, even before being asked for permission.
Defence Ministry spokesman Harald Kammerbauer told the AP that 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.”
In general, the Bundeswehr (German military) has a special interest in the serious and authentic portrayal of the events of July 20, 1944 and Stauffenberg’s person,” Kammerbauer added.
It’s not shocking that such an action has been taken. The U.S. military is well-known for picking and choosing with which productions it will cooperate: “Top Gun,” and “Pearl Harbor” received full support, while “Dr. Strangelove” and “A Few Good Men” received stern “no, sirs” and no help.
But the German military isn’t just objecting to the satirical or muckracking nature of a film, they are taking a logical stand based on prior governmental policy (and to avoid looking like hypocrites), which is unlike the U.S. Navy who refused to assist 1995’s “Crimson Tide,” wherein a young officer must comit mutiny to stop a trigger-happy commander: Stating that it was an “unrealistic story” since there hadn’t ever been a mutiny on a U.S. Naval ship and that they wouldn’t support a film depicting such an incident, the Navy did not cooperate with the production. But, as Wikipedia notes, they offered production assistance to 1954’s “The Caine Mutiny,” starring Humphrey Bogart.
Will lack of historical locations hurt the film? Doubtful. With Brannagh and Singer signed on, there will be much more to look at on screen than the scenery. Besides, everyone knows that it’s cheaper to film in Prague. And, surely, Cruise as producer, has already taken that into consideration.

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