To answer your first question, he is exactly how you'd expect him to be.
Sit down for a chat with Tom Cruise, and you get a lot of unbroken eye contact, enthusiasm that makes you question your own cynicism and manners that would make Emily Post envious. He's certainly on his best behavior when talking about "Valkyrie," his World War II thriller based on the remarkable true story of the unsuccessful plot by German soldiers to kill Adolf Hitler. The film teams Cruise with "X-Men" helmer Bryan Singer, and it recalls the director's first work, "The Usual Suspects," in that it's a thriller first and foremost, almost never letting the audience out of its steady grip.
MTV News caught up with Cruise and Singer to talk about their new film, which opens Christmas Day. We also got Cruise to reveal who he's wanted to kill since he was a boy and whether wife Katie Holmes has lost that loving feeling.
MTV: This film was nearly scuttled by bad press prior to its release. There were problems with shooting it in Germany and many release-date changes, but the good news is, the finished product totally works as a thriller. It must be gratifying to see that the film works as well as it does in the end.
Tom Cruise: I think we were already proud while we were making the movie. We were making the film because we thought this was cool. All that other stuff was this other reality.
Bryan Singer: None of the people were seeing the movie. It was weird to have my mom say, "So, are you coming home?" "Why, mom?" "Because the Germans aren't letting you shoot there." Well, there are 100 million Germans.
Cruise: And some of them were financing the film.
Singer: A lot of it was clearly misinformation.
Cruise: It makes good headlines.
Singer: There are enough challenges making these kinds of films, these big films. There are enough challenges on a daily basis.
MTV: Did the fact that you, Bryan, are Jewish, and you, Tom, are a Scientologist affect your decision to make this film? These are two sometimes-persecuted groups. I would think that would inform wanting to make a film about killing Hitler.
Cruise: When I was a kid, I always wanted to kill Hitler. [Laughs.] I didn't care about religion or whatever. I hated that guy and everything he stood for. We played war games. There's something about that time period, even as a little kid, when you're looking at these documentaries.
Singer: See, I always wanted to play Hitler and get killed.
Cruise: Did you really?
Singer: I think being Jewish helps when you're making a film like this. It's something one thinks about. But it's not the driving force. The driving force is a great story, a great moment in history.
Cruise: I just love that it's real. You couldn't make up this stuff. I guess we could have, but there was no need. It's so accurate to what occurred.
MTV: If you were in your character's situation, do you think you would make that choice, to attempt to kill Hitler?
Cruise: That's a question that you can't help but ask [yourself]. You try to create as much emotional reality to that situation. I would like to think that I would, but you can't say until you're up against that. You don't know.
MTV: Tom, many "Hills" fans were shocked to see you appear on "The Hills: Live After Show" last week. Can I assume you're a big fan? Can I quiz you about "The Hills"?
Cruise: [Laughs.] Don't quiz me. Please don't quiz me.
MTV: We'll get you the DVDs, and we can talk next time. Congratulations on your Golden Globe nomination for "Tropic Thunder."
Cruise: Thank you.
MTV: I hear you and Ben Stiller may do more with your character, Les Grossman.
Cruise: Ben and I are always talking about what we can do with Les. Do we do some viral video with Les? We had a lot of fun with that.
MTV: I saw you sing some Elvis on "Leno" the other night. Do you still have "You've Lost That Loving Feeling" in your repertoire?
Cruise: Oh, yeah.
MTV: Is it a nightly thing for you?
Cruise: Not nightly. I'll bring it out when I need to.
MTV: Does Katie ever need it?
Cruise: It's not that she needs it, but she likes a little bit of that. It's what you need and what you want. I'm here to deliver whatever she needs or wants. [Laughs.]
Check out everything we've got on "Valkyrie."
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