Tom Cruise’s Much-Delayed ‘Valkyrie’ Isn’t A Dud, Co-Star Bill Nighy Insists

Release date has been moved to accommodate shoots, not to bury the film, Nighy says.

If you’re the type of far-thinking filmgoer who likes to look up release dates well in advance of a movie’s completion, you might have penciled in this weekend to see the new World War II drama That is, if you hadn’t already penciled it in for last month.

With four date changes, the most recent of which has the film opening on February 13, 2009, “Valkyrie” has had more starts and stops than the plot to assassinate Hitler from which it gets its title.

When a movie gets shifted as much as this one, it’s not unreasonable to assume it’s a stinker. But rumors of the film’s poor quality are patently untrue, co-star insisted, telling MTV News that the film was pushed back for the very simple reason that it is still in production.

“We just shot some extra scenes for it,” said Nighy, who plays German General Friedrich Olbricht. “One of the reasons that the date was changed was in order to do the extra scenes, which they were always going to do if they felt [the film] warranted it. They’ve added some new stuff, and people are very excited about it.”

Directed by Bryan Singer (), “Valkyrie” follows Claus von Stauffenberg (Cruise), a Nazi soldier who hatches a plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler during the waning years of the war. ” ‘Valkyrie’ is a great story, a true story, and it’s a faithful account,” Nighy said. “They haven’t bent the story to accommodate the movie or anything. It’s an honest and serious film.”

So if everything is taken straight from history, what is it they always wanted to film but hadn’t?

According to Nighy, the new scenes are mostly big-budget action sequences set in Northern Africa, where, at the beginning of the war, von Stauffenberg was grievously injured, losing a hand and an eye (thus necessitating that silly-looking pirate patch for which Cruise has been endlessly ridiculed).

“The new scenes for the large part are those scenes in North Africa,” Nighy said. “So where it stands is that they’re very excited and enthusiastic for it and very bullish for it.”

Although February has traditionally been thought of as the month where mediocre movies go to die, the Presidents Day weekend has, in recent years, proved highly profitable for films like “Jumper,” “Ghost Rider” and “Eight Below.”

And the proximity to Valentine’s Day gives marketing execs a chance to try out Nighy’s new slogan.

“It’s Valentine’s Day,” Nighy laughed, “so take your date to see a movie about killing Hitler!”

Check out everything we’ve got on “Valkyrie.”

For breaking news, celebrity columns, humor and more — updated around the clock — visit MTVMoviesBlog.com.