Tom Cruise as Claus Graf Schenk von Stauffenberg in Valkyrie
Frank Connor/Studio Babelsberg/AFP/Getty
08/30/2007 AT 12:00 PM EDT
has broken his silence and is defending his controversial role as the German colonel famous for a failed attempt to kill Adolf Hitler.
"All I can say is, 'Save your comments until you see the movie,' " Cruise, 49, tells the German weekly, Bunte
, regarding the German politicians and media who have attacked
his religious beliefs and his decision to play one of Germany's greatest heroes in his new movie Valkyrie
"I want to think positive and concentrate on the film," the actor says in the magazine. "I carry a great responsibility to the Germans, for whom a man like [Colonel Claus Graf Schenk von] Stauffenberg means so much."
"And I feel this responsibility to the man himself. The more I learn about him, the greater my respect and my admiration of him," he adds about his character in the wartime thriller surrounding a failed plot by high-ranking military officers to blow up Hitler. Stauffenberg was the man who placed the bomb.
Cruise also reveals that when director Bryan Singer approached him about the role, he tossed a script on his desk with a picture of Stauffenberg on the cover. Says Cruise, "Intuitively I saw a similarity in the profile of this man with myself. Naturally that's something that makes an actor curious."
And he insists that filming had to take place in Germany. "We wanted the inner truth, so to speak, and location helps with that."
Cruise says that he enjoys living in Berlin with wife Katie Holmes
and daughter Suri. A personal highlight is Berlin's Tiergarten park. "To my great delight I've discovered that my family and I can walk in the park at night and it's not dangerous. Fantastic."