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Last Updated: Friday, 20 July 2007, 08:45 GMT 09:45 UK
Cruise shoots controversial movie
Tom Cruise as Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg
Cruise is filming in a forest south of Berlin
Filming has begun on Tom Cruise movie Valkyrie despite crew being banned from a Berlin location where an army colonel was executed during World War II.

Scientologist Cruise plays Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, who was executed after plotting against Hitler.

Rumours circulated that the crew were banned from the former German general staff quarters because of the country's hostility towards Scientology.

But a government spokesman said it was to preserve the building's "dignity".

The building, known as the Bendler Block, is now a memorial for Third Reich resistance fighters.

"We granted all permissions but the one, for the Bendler Block because the dignity of this place should not be violated," said government spokesman Torsten Albig.

"These circumstances show that the religious beliefs of the actor are without relevance," he said.

Stauffenberg and the other plotters of the July 1944 assassination attempt were caught and executed after Hitler survived the explosion at his headquarters in what was then East Prussia.

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.

"I can't imagine shooting it anywhere else but on location in Germany, and I'm thrilled that we were able to get Tom Cruise to play Colonel Stauffenberg," said Singer in a statement.


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