Plot Thickens in a Tom Cruise Film about Claus von Stauffenberg, Long Before the Cameras Begin to Roll

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When the director Bryan Singer decided to cast Tom Cruise as Col. Claus Schenk von Stauffenberg, the German Army officer who tried to blow up Hitler toward the end of World War II, he thought he had dealt with all the possible pitfalls.

There was the knotty matter of accents, but the director figured that Mr. Cruise and everybody else in the movie, “Valkyrie,” would do fine if they spoke unaffected English. The cost of affording the high-wattage Mr. Cruise could also be problematic, but the star took the job for a nominal salary, agreeing to get his cut after the tickets were sold — a deal helped by his part ownership of United Artists, the studio behind the picture.

What Mr. Singer did not reckon with is Germany’s open hostility toward Mr. Cruise’s religion. “Frankly, I was not aware of the issue of Scientology here in Germany,” Mr. Singer said in a telephone interview from Berlin this week, shortly after news reports that military officials would ban “Valkyrie” from filming at the Bendler Block, where Colonel Stauffenberg was executed in July 1944 for his leading role in the conspiracy to assassinate Hitler. Mr. Cruise’s affiliation with Scientology was cited as a reason for the supposed ban.

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