The Top Gun shoots blanks? No way, says Tom Cruise, who filed a suit in Los Angeles yesterday, charging that the German magazine Bunte falsely quoted him in its July issue as saying he has a "zero sperm count" and "cannot produce children." Cruise wants $60 million for the damage to his reputation.

Cruise "feels strongly that people who are sterile should not be reviled," says his suit. Still, his "career is dependent upon the public's...belief in his performances and in its willingness to believe that he does or could possess the qualities of the characters he plays." Apparently, those qualities include fathering children, in addition to hacking computers while hanging from pulleys. Anyway, says the suit, Cruise has a "normal sperm count."

Bunte appeared to make at least a partial retreat almost immediately. In a statement issued today in German, Burda, the magazine's publisher, said that during an interview with Cruise, he was asked if he wanted to have natural children in addition to the two adopted ones he shares with his wife, Nicole Kidman. According to the statement, Cruise made a vague reply about his "situation"--which Bunte's reporters took to mean sterility, because other German magazines have reported it that way. The statement did not specifically stand behind the disputed quotes.

Bunte and Cruise's representatives are working on an amicable resolution of the issue, the statement said. And no wonder: Recently, a German court ordered the magazine to pay about $270,000 to Princess Caroline of Monaco after printing an entirely fictitious interview with her. Bunte claimed that it bought the interview in good faith from an Austrian agent.

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