Tom Cruise 'Always Wanted to Kill Hitler'

Hollywood star Tom Cruise signs autographs for his fans upon his arrival at the hand printing ceremony in Seoul, South Korea, Saturday, Jan. 17, 2009. Cruise came to Seoul on Friday to promote his new movie Valkyrie. (AP Photo/ Lee Jin-man)

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- Tom Cruise says playing an anti-Hitler plotter in his latest movie "Valkyrie" fulfilled a childhood fantasy.

In real life, the American actor says he harbors feelings similar to his German character, who led a failed plot to assasinate the Nazi leader.

"I've always wanted to kill Hitler. As a child, I used to wonder why someone didn't stand up and kill him," Cruise told reporters in the South Korean capital Sunday.

Studying his character, would-be Hitler assassin Col. Claus von Stauffenberg, Cruise said he "came to greatly admire him."

"Although the story takes place during the World War II, I found the story ageless," he said. Making the movie "was a powerful experience that I will never forget."

Despite early skepticism toward "Valkyrie," the movie had a solid $21.5 million opening weekend in North America in December and has made a total $77.6 domestically since then, according to the box office tracking Web site Box Office Mojo.

Cruise's visit to Seoul, where "Valkyrie" opens Thursday, marks a rare promotional stop by Hollywood to South Korea, which traditionally focuses on neighboring Japan as the industry's main Asian market.

But South Korean movies, until recently the pride of Asian cinema for their ability to fend off American competition, are struggling even at home. Box office results for Seoul up to November 2008 place local films in the top two spots, but Hollywood films accounted for six of the top 10.

"Valkyrie" director Bryan Singer said South Korea was picked as the first Asian country for the movie's release because it's "an extraordinary rising market" for both local and international films.

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