Branagh And Cruise Target Hitler For 'Valkyrie'

Kenneth Branagh in 'Valkyrie'Here at the MTV Movie's Blog we've had a lot of fun in recent months with silly "What Ifs:" What if Brian De Palma directed "Spider Man"? What if David Cronenberg directed "Return of the Jedi"?

But talking about his new film "Valkyrie," Kenneth Branagh has a what if for us that's anything but silly: What if Hitler had been assassinated before the end of WWII?

"One feels the weight of that [question]," Branagh sighed. "The near misses, a last minute replacement of a bomb behind a wooden oak table leg that meant the course of the 20th century changed. Everything would have changed."

It's a question that Branagh admitted to spending a lot of time thinking about ever since he joined Tom Cruise on the Bryan Singer film, which follows Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg and a tight band of resistance fighters as they attempt to kill Hitler, an assassination attempt known to history as the July 20 Plot.

Branagh plays Henning Hermann Robert Karl von Tresckow, "the guy who recruited Tom Cruise's character," he explained. "He was very publicly anti Hitler from 1936 onwards. The film has revealed to me how surprising the extent that there was resistance in the German army to Hitler."

No kidding. Check out Tresckow's Wiki Page for some amazingly brave quotes like this one: "No one among us can complain about his death, for whoever joined our ranks put on the shirt of Nessus. A man's moral worth is established only at the point where he is ready to give up his life in defense of his convictions."

Tresckow did die for his convictions, of course, but by his own hand. After the plot failed, he took his own life to protect others.

"It's brilliantly done," Branagh said of the film. "Bryan Singer is encyclopedic on this subject. Cruise is very well cast. This tale is so extraordinarily gripping and suspenseful."

"Valkyrie" opens next July.