Filed in Movie News Valkyrie

Germany backs Cruise’s anti-Hitler film

By Erik Kirschbaum
Thu Jul 5, 8:29 AM ET

BERLIN (Reuters) – A German film fund said on Thursday it will grant subsidies worth 4.8 million euros ($6.5 million) for a controversial new film in which Tom Cruise plays a German hero executed for trying to kill Hitler.

Despite a row about the film’s thwarted efforts to use a memorial site where the Nazis shot Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, the German Federal Film Fund (DFFF), administered by the Federal Film Board (FFA), has endorsed the subsidy.

“Yes, it’s been approved,” said Christine Berg, DFFF project head at the FFA. “The application was submitted, the criteria for the grant were fulfilled and the project was approved.”

The subsidies are available to any film as long as a German-based producer is involved and certain percentages of the costs fall in Germany.

The grant, from a new 60 million euro annual subsidy budget set up this year, exceeds the total cost of most German films.

One of the officials said the grant should allay fears that Germany is fundamentally opposed to Cruise playing Stauffenberg because of the actor’s membership of Scientology.

The government regards Scientology as a cult masquerading as a religion to make money, a view its leaders reject.

Defense Minister Franz Josef Jung has said the filmmakers cannot shoot at any military sites as long as Cruise plays the lead role, and Stauffenberg’s eldest son had said he does not want Cruise to portray his father.

However the Finance Ministry, which controls state properties, has said filming is generally banned at the “Bendlerblock” — the site of the conspirators’ execution and now a national shrine within the Defense Ministry complex — because of a bad experience with a German filmmaker.

“Valkyrie” — named after the plot’s codename — is due to begin filming at locations in Berlin on July 18. The film is being directed by Bryan Singer and due for release in 2008.

Stauffenberg and his co-conspirators were shot after failing to kill Hitler with a briefcase bomb on July 20, 1944. (Source: Yahoo)

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