10/06/2008 at 01:00 AM EDT
"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."