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Ken Russell Defends Tom Cruise Movie

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Jul 05, 2007 | 5:45am EDT

Veteran British director Ken Russell is the latest moviemaker to leap to the defense of Tom Cruise, insisting Germany's Defense Ministry is wrong to ban filming on military sites because of the actor's controversial Scientology beliefs.

Cruise is playing World War II hero Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg--who lead an unsuccessful plot to assassinate Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler--in new film Valkyrie.

However, permission to shoot scenes on genuine army sites was denied last week by the country's Defense Ministry--allegedly because Scientology is viewed as a "moneymaking cult" instead of legitimate church by the German government.

On Tuesday German director Florian Henckel Von Donnersmarck waded into the debate, urging his government to be more tolerant and reverse the ban--and Russell agrees.

Writing in British newspaper The Times he says, "It seems stretching it to make Cruise take the flak for his philosophy of choice while he seeks, with all sincerity and a huge amount of resources, to promote Germany's favorite son. Give the guy a break.

"Everybody knows Hollywood types are eccentric and daredevil weirdos, don't they? Where's the news in that?"

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