Shooting began Thursday in a forest outside Berlin on a movie starring Tom
Cruise as Germany's most famous anti-Hitler plotter.
The German government said it was letting filmmakers shoot anywhere they
requested, except the former German general staff headquarters.
The so-called Bendler Block, where Col. Claus Graf Schenk von Stauffenberg
was executed by firing squad 63 years ago Saturday, was off-limits, said government spokesman Torsten
Albig, citing "the dignity of the place."
Cruise plays Stauffenberg in "Valkyrie," directed by Bryan Singer.
The movie set was cordoned off
with yellow-and-black plastic tape in a pine forest near the village of Klein
Koeris, 43 miles south of Berlin. Studio Babelsberg, the film's German
producers, confirmed that Cruise was on the set.
The government's refusal to permit filming where Stauffenberg worked and died
led to controversy about whether the 45-year-old actor's religious beliefs had
triggered the decision.
Cruise is one of Scientology's best-known members. The German government
considers Scientology a commercial enterprise that takes advantage of vulnerable
people, and some critics maintain that one of its adherents shouldn't be playing
one of the Nazi-era's few heroes.
Albig said the decision not to allow filming at the Bendler Block, now a
memorial for Third Reich resistance fighters, had nothing to do with Cruise's
"We granted all permissions but the one, for the Bendler
Block because the dignity of this place should not be violated," Albig said
Thursday. "These circumstances show that the religious beliefs of the actor are