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Peter T Chattaway

Valkyrie

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... in untitled plot-to-assassinate-Hitler thriller.

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Cruise set for Singer's WWII film

United Artists has set Tom Cruise to star for director Bryan Singer in the untitled WWII thriller that will begin production in the summer. . . . Chris McQuarrie wrote the script with Nathan Alexander. . . . UA partners Cruise and Wagner made a deal last week for the film (Daily Variety, March 14), which is the first original project teaming Singer and McQuarrie since "The Usual Suspects." . . . At the time UA made the deal, Cruise sparked to it only as a project for the studio. That changed quickly. The thriller is based on actual events, as German generals hatch a scheme to assassinate Adolph Hitler at the height of WWII. In subsequent meetings, Singer asked Cruise if he wanted to play a central role and he agreed Tuesday. . . . While the thriller is framed in Europe during WWII, it is a relatively inexpensive film compared with the tentpoles that Singer has directed recently. It also has the ensemble character intrigue present in "The Usual Suspects."

Variety, March 20

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Wonder if it will detail Bonnhoeffer's involvement at all? Or maybe the film will concern one of the various other assassination attempts.

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

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UA partners Cruise and Wagner made a deal last week for the film (Daily Variety, March 14), which is the first original project teaming Singer and McQuarrie since "The Usual Suspects."

Bonnhoeffer or no, this bit is huge for me. TUS is the film that got me into films and, with Public Access preceding it, made me think the Singer/McQuarrie duo had huge potential. I hope that's realized in this project, but if nothing else it's good to see them working together again for sentimental value.

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Although not based on an actual assassination attempt on Hitler, I've always liked the Peter O'Toole film Rogue Male. A terrific little gem, with some very intense cat and mouse sequences, and a stellar performance by O'Toole.

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I hope it's not Bonhoeffer. Cruise would have to go a looonnng way to become Bonhoeffer, at least for me.

Otherwise, sounds fascinating. Singer is not the first person I would have thought Cruise would work with at this point in his career. It'll be interesting to watch how it unfolds.

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Germany prohibits Cruise's 'Valkyrie'

United Artists' "Valkyrie" is strictly verboten as far as the German Defense Ministry is concerned. Due to Tom Cruise's affiliation with the Church of Scientology, the Teutonic governmental body has prohibited shooting the WWII thriller at German military sites. Decision was based on Germany's longstanding contention that Scientology is not a religion but an exploitative, profit-based business concern.

Variety, June 25

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Germany prohibits Cruise's 'Valkyrie'

United Artists' "Valkyrie" is strictly verboten as far as the German Defense Ministry is concerned. Due to Tom Cruise's affiliation with the Church of Scientology, the Teutonic governmental body has prohibited shooting the WWII thriller at German military sites. Decision was based on Germany's longstanding contention that Scientology is not a religion but an exploitative, profit-based business concern.

Variety, June 25

At least Germany has the guts to call a scam a scam.

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Bobbin Threadbare wrote:

: At least Germany has the guts to call a scam a scam.

Erm... for some reason I am reminded of Jeffrey Wells's quip: "The Germans feel that Scientology is a con and not a legitimate religion (whatever that means)..." I am very reluctant to let ANY secular government try to determine which religions are "legitimate" and which are not.

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Not to mention that Tom Cruise's "religion" should have no bearing on whether or not a filming is allowed.

Religion or not, that's a more legitimate act of "persecution" than nearly any I've seen the North American Christian church cry about in ... I dunno... 10 years?

Edit: The Wells link questioned Cruise's believability in the role. Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't he speak convincing Japanese in The Last Samurai. The man is a good actor... his role selection is his main problem. I don't really have any doubts that Singer can get an excellent performance out of him. I bet Singer probably doesn't either, or he'd probably be opposed to the casting decision.

I watched The Way of the Gun a few weeks ago and realized how much there was to appreciate. Some of it was handled poorly and could have been improved, but I caught a lot of things I missed the last time I watched it. Overall what hit me was how great MacQuarrie's dialogue can be. I said it earlier, but it will be fun to watch these two in action together again. They're both great at what they do.

And again, ridiculous decision by Germany. I'm sure they could come up with plenty of valid reasons to disallow shooting. Scientology shouldn't be one.

Edited by theoddone33

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't he speak convincing Japanese in The Last Samurai. The man is a good actor... his role selection is his main problem.

Sorry to be the one to say it, but I think that you've got the complete oppisite intrepretation of Cruise. His acting has always been iffy for me, but his role selection is beyond comparision. The same actor making Top Gun, Born on the Fourth of July, A Few Good Men, The Firm, Interview with the Vampire, Mission: Impossible, Jerry Maguire, Eyes Wide Shut, Magnolia, Minority Report, War of the Worlds, Collateral? He consistently seeks out excellent directors and interesting projects. He only really suffers when his usual choices fail him, as in picking the inexperienced J.J. Abhrams to direct M:I:3. Put him with a good director and the sparks will almost inevitably fly.

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There's a trailer for this film before Lions for Lambs, and yikes, Cruise still comes off as that smirking-guy-in-a-serious-situation that he played in A Few Good Men and probably countless other roles. He doesn't exactly seem to have the "gravitas" for a World War II movie, especially one that plays at the higher political levels.

And there is something about the trailer that makes me wonder if this film will be interpreted (or is intended) as some sort of comment on the current situation in America -- a sort of subtler, mainstream, foiled version of Death of a President (the British film in which actual news footage of George W. Bush is used and altered to depict his assassination and its aftermath). I think it is the line where somebody says, "We must show the world that not all Germans agree with him," or something to that effect, that got my thoughts going in that direction. I was expecting this film to be a straightforward and basically historical depiction of a failed attempt to kill Hitler, but I wonder now if it will plug into any sort of latent wish that someone would just go and bump off the current American commander-in-chief.

Or maybe that's just how it seems now that the trailer is being shown with Lions for Lambs, a film that expresses its contempt for the Bush administration in no uncertain terms (calling them "irredeemable", etc.).

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Anne Thompson: "Thanks to the UA writer agreement, Singer can now finish those pesky Valkyrie reshoots, called off because Cruise had to promote Lions for Lambs. The ending of the movie still needs to be retooled."

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The release date of Valkyrie has been pushed back, for the second time, to Feb. 13th, 2009.

UA has high hopes for "Valkyrie," which had originally been set to open June 27 but was pushed back (to Oct. 3) late last year to allow Singer enough time to complete the film. The helmer's set to shoot three final scenes next month.

Now, with an early 2009 bow, pic has moved out of awards season consideration -- but into a slot with more box office potential, given recent performance. Clark Woods, MGM prexy of domestic distribution, said the studio wanted to take advantage of an opening in the schedule for the Presidents Day weekend.

Story here.

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I hadn't seen the trailer until today. Being a bit of a WWII history buff, I find it interesting that Kenneth Branagh has now played 2 real life Nazi characters of decidedly different mindsets. Here in Valkyrie he is playing Henning von Tresckow, an archetect of several assassination attempts against both Hitler and Himmler. In Conspiracy, he played Reinhard Heydrich, who chaired the Wannsee conference, which finalized plans for the extermination of all European Jews.

Edited by Baal_T'shuvah

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'Valkyrie' portrait flap was mistaken photo ID

What looked at first like another PR blow to "Valkyrie," the twice-delayed Tom Cruise film based on the true story of a German officer who plotted to assassinate Hitler, turned out to be a case of mistaken photo identity.

A report posted on Slate.com last week suggested that United Artists had doctored a portrait of Claus von Stauffenberg to make it more closely resemble the "Top Gun" actor. One problem: The two images scrutinized in the story, posted June 17 under the heading "Tom Cruise Mystery: The case of the doctored publicity photo," didn't come from the same source.

Associated Press, June 24

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Stephen Whitty says Valkyrie won't be shown to junket journalists until December 12, and it won't be shown to critics until December 15 ... thus making it ineligible for awards consideration by many film-critics groups ... but I am aware of at least three screenings that will be taking place in some city, somewhere, BEFORE December 12, so I don't know what to make of his claim. Edited by Peter T Chattaway

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The closer this film gets, the more i wish Cruise wasn't in it. I don't want the focus to be on him, rather than the story, which it could be.

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What about Tropic Thunder? :)

I think he's best when he's a freak or a villain.

I think he's great in Magnolia, and even better in Collateral.

When he's "the good guy," he always strikes me as working too hard to prove something. He seems to think that if he's just intense enough... that's acting.

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