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updated 10/06/2008 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/06/2008 01:00AM

"HE WAS WILLING TO STAND UP AND DO SOMETHING"
TOM CRUISE Talks About Playing a Real-Life War Hero in Valkyrie

ONLY IN People

After playing a vulgar movie producer in Tropic Thunder, Tom Cruise is returning to his day job—action hero—in Valkyrie, opening Dec. 26. He stars as Col. Claus Schenk von Stauffenberg, a real-life German army officer executed in 1944 after plotting (unsuccessfully) to assassinate Adolf Hitler. "It's a suspense thriller," says Cruise, 46, "about heroism and making the right choices."

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