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Last Updated: Wednesday, 4 July 2007, 09:35 GMT 10:35 UK
Cruise film banned from memorial
Tom Cruise
Cruise is a passionate advocate of the Church of Scientology
Actor Tom Cruise and the makers of his new movie have been banned from filming at the location in Berlin where an army colonel was executed in World War II.

Cruise plays Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, who was executed after plotting to assassinate Hitler in 1944.

Germany's finance ministry said the ban on Valkyrie's makers had nothing to do with the actor being a Scientologist.

Producers have already been barred from military sites because Germany believes Scientology is a money-making cult.

Scientology leaders strongly reject that view, while Cruise's co-producer has said his personal beliefs were not relevant to the film's subject matter.

A German government spokesman said the cast and crew had been refused permission to film on the so-called Bendlerblock site, which is part of the defence ministry, because it was a memorial site.

Meanwhile director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck - who won this year's best foreign language film Oscar for The Lives of Others - has defended Cruise, telling the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper that having him play Stauffenberg "would promote Germany's image more than 10 football World Cups".

Valkyrie - named after Operation Valkyrie, the plot's codename - is directed by Bryan Singer and also stars Kenneth Branagh. It is due for release next year.

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