Cruise said he was struck by Von Stauffenberg's elaborate plot, even to the point that he believed the script doctored history for the sake of suspense. "When I put it down, I thought, this can't be true," he said at the film's press day in New York.Another sign showing how Cruise was personally motivated to do the film was Singer comments:
Cruise felt compelled to share the story. "It's important to know that it wasn't everybody — not everybody felt the way [Hitler did] or fell into the Nazi ideology," he said. "I grew up wanting to kill Nazis and wanting to kill Hitler, and remember thinking as a child, 'Why didn't someone just shoot him?' So it's an important story to tell.
"As a director you always feel that nobody cares about the movie as much as you do," Singer said. "With Tom, you get the rare honor of having a partnership with someone who cares about this movie as much as I do. We experimented, and it was phenomenal because anything I'd ask he'd be like, 'Let's do it.' There was never a lack of wanting to try and never a lack of trust."There is, however, another aspect I found of interest through this interview.
On top of the story itself, and Cruise's own background as a child, I think that what also motivated him was the parallel of someone standing against the prevailing mob propaganda of the time, and his own standing regarding Scientology:
"The thing that stood out to me was Stauffenburg himself and the amount of desperation and pain for him," Cruise said. "He wanted a moral country that participated in the world, not one of annihilation and Holocausts and world domination. He was a man who was able to see through all the propaganda and see how utterly insane Hitler was, and ultimately he was the one to say, 'Somebody's got to shoot that bastard.'"The two situations are of course not comparable, because at the time it would have cost you your life to stand against the wave (not speaking of attempting to kill Hitler!), but it does take some courage and insight to be able to stand up to any form of ignorance and prejudice when they are being echoed and perpetrated by the masses, and I believe his own experience being a Scientologist in today's world may have been one of the reasons Cruise found the scrip to be admirable.
Not that I agree with him on Scientology. I think it would take more insight even to quit the movement, but I place myself on his perspective, and from his perspective his stand is quite admirable, because he holds it against the world as, for him this is what he believes in.
It would take more than the stupid bashing fanatical critics call "criticism" to get Cruise out of Scientology, and in the meantime this kind of "criticism" is no better than mob hysteria indeed.
Updates Jan 1, 2009:
"I've had lots of luck and earned much money during my career. Now I don't do movies for the money. I pick the projects that I feel like doing, and lots of people earn a lot of money with me."
"... and the certainty of being branded a traitor to his country - because he knew it was the right thing to do [...] As he elaborates, it's apparent that he identifies with von Stauffenberg on some personal level that he can't quite verbalise. And it strikes me that what he's saying about the man's character is very similar to what he wrote in his eulogy for his friend Paul Newman [...] When I point this out and the conversation shifts to Newman[...] "Paul lived with such dignity and left such a legacy - as an actor and a philanthropist - that words can't do justice to his accomplishment." [...] "Now that I think about it," he says with a smile, "this idea is probably one of the reasons that made me want to make Valkyrie. Like Paul, von Stauffenberg is a good role model. So I guess you could say that both men have been a gift to me."