Set to Cruise control in Tokyo


Tom Cuise was in Japan last week with his wife, Katie Holmes, and their 2-year-old daughter, Suri, to promote his new film, “Valkyrie.” As always, the star did the best he could to please his Japanese fans, spending over two hours outside a theater in Roppongi shaking hands and signing autographs; and the next day he flew from Tokyo to Osaka on a chartered plane (dubbed “Sky Cruise”) with 40 lucky people selected from 3,000 applicants.

Before meeting his worshippers, Cruise attended a news conference held at The Ritz Carlton Tokyo in Roppongi on March 10, where he shared his thoughts on playing Col. Claus von Stauffenberg, a heroic German officer who led a failed assassination attempt against Adolf Hitler in 1944.

“I really hate the Nazis,” said the 46-year-old actor. He added that when he was in school, he studied general history, but did not know of von Stauffenberg’s story until he read the script.

“To see, and to realize, there were some people within that world who disagreed right from the beginning and realized the sacrifice he had to make for the future, not only in the country, but for the world, to try to end those atrocities was very moving and inspiring,” explained the actor.

To play the real-life character, he did a huge amount of research, including reading biographies on him and studying the time period in which the film is set. And Cruise came upon something which he and his character have in common.

“The thing I identify with him is that he loved his family,” the husband and the father-of-three children said. “I just looked at who he was as a human being, someone who loved his wife and his children, loved his country and also wanted his country to be part of the world. So, for him, Hitler and the Nazis were the antithesis . . . the exact opposite of what he wanted for his country and for his children.”

Asked whether he met any of von Stauffenberg’s family members, Cruise said: “They came by the set. And we have his grandson in the film in the beginning in the scene with Kenneth Branagh, where they are waiting in the truck at the very opening sequence. . . . We had a premiere in Berlin and it was really incredible because we received a 10-minute standing ovation afterward. They were very appreciative of how the subject matter was handled.”

Recalling the shoot in Berlin, he said, “The city itself was beautiful. The people were incredible to us, and then there is a flip side of having to study the history . . . to look at that was very emotional.”

For the last question, a reporter asked how it was acting with an eye-patch.

“It took me a while to get use to it. It threw my balance off,” Cruise laughed, adding he thought “the eye-patch was pretty cool.” Then the star made an exit, waving to the cameras with a perfect smile.