The oldest son of a German aristocrat behind an unsuccessful attempt to assassinate Adolf Hitler in 1944 blasted plans by Tom Cruise to play his father in an upcoming film.
The son of Count Claus Schenk von Stauffenberg said in an interview in today’s Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper that he objected to the actor’s involvement with the Church of Scientology, adding that Cruise “should keep his hands off my father”.
“I hoped for a while that it was all just a publicity stunt by Mr Cruise,” said Berthold von Stauffenberg, 72, referring to plans by the Hollywood star to appear as his father in the film, Valkyrie, to be made this summer by director Bryan Singer (Superman Returns).
“It is sure to be crap. Of course, I could be wrong – I would like to be.”
Stauffenberg led a group of Nazi officers who planted a bomb under a table in Hitler’s eastern headquarters in East Prussia on July 20, 1944.
But the Nazi leader escaped with slight injuries because an officer had moved the briefcase containing the explosives behind a sturdy leg of the oak table.
That the assassination attempt failed is now generally regarded as one of the great tragedies of the 20th century.
Between July 1944 and the end of the war in Europe in May 1945, mass killings in death camps were stepped up and four million Germans, 1.5 million Soviet soldiers and more than 100,000 Allied servicemen lost their lives.
Stauffenberg said Cruise’s professed faith in Scientology was “off-putting”, adding the church was not a religion but a “business”.
“I am not saying that Cruise is a bad actor – I cannot judge that. But, in any case, I fear that it could turn into horrible kitsch,” he said, adding he had been deeply disappointed by previous films on his father.
Stauffenberg said he would not take legal action to try to stop Valkyrie, but hoped Cruise would drop the project nevertheless.
“He should keep his hands off my father. He should climb a mountain or go surfing in the Caribbean.
“I don’t care, as long as he stays out of it.”