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Actor Tom Cruise, seen here in May 2006, has been vocal about his membership in Scientology. ((Stuart Ramson/Associated Press))

The son of a German aristocrat wants Tom Cruise to drop out of a movie projectafter discovering the U.S. actor will play his father, who was behind an unsuccessful attempt to assassinate Adolf Hitler in 1944.

The son of Count Claus Schenk von Stauffenberg told Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper that Cruise "should keep his hands off my father."

The count is considered a war hero in Germany, despite his failed effort.Although a colonel in the German army during the Second World War, the count joined the resistance movement about two years before leading the assassination attempt.

Berthold von Stauffenberg, 72, said he objected to the 45-year-old actor's involvement with the Church of Scientology.

"I hoped for a while that it was all just a publicity stunt by Mr. Cruise," said Stauffenberg, in reference to plans by the star to portray his father in the film Valkyrie, to be helmed this summer by Bryan Singer, director ofX-Men 2 and Superman Returns.

The film also stars British actors Bill Nighy (Davy Jones in the Pirates of the Caribbean series), Eddie Izzard and Kenneth Branagh.

Stauffenberg said Cruise's faith was "off-putting" and that he feared the movie"could turn into horrible kitsch."

Won't halt filming

Stauffenberg's father led a group of German army officers who planted a bomb under a table in Hitler's headquarters in East Prussia on July 20, 1944. But the Nazi leader escaped with minor injuries because one of his officers had moved the briefcase containing the explosives behind the leg of the oak table.

The count was caught and promptly executed that night, and eventually 7,000 co-conspirators and sympathizers were killed by the Nazis.

Members of the Stauffenberg family were sent to various concentration camps.Stauffenberg and his wife Nina had five children, the last one born in a camp after Stauffenberg's execution. Berthold is the oldest and he became a general in what was the West German army.

Stauffenberg said he would not attempt to stop the film but hoped Cruise would drop out of the project.

"He should climb a mountain or go surfing in the Caribbean. I don't care, as long as he stays out of it."

This is not the first time Cruise's Scientology connection has landed him in the headlines.The actor had a very public spat with actress Brooke Shields last year about her use of medication to deal with postpartum depression.

Cruise, upholding a Scientology belief, suggested Shields should have used vitamins to deal with her mental condition.He went on tocriticize psychiatry.

The two have since made up and become friends.