If you’ve not heard of him already, Luke Bracey is a name that you will become acquainted with very soon. The homegrown actor has seen an impressive shot to stardom, and furthering of the reputation of the country’s talent pool internationally. Now, Bracey has been announced as the new face of Ralph Lauren’s latest fragrance, Polo Red Extreme. Something to mirror his own fast-paced life, and befitting for the star of such films as Point Break and Hacksaw Ridge.
But sitting in a hotel room, facing Bracey as the charming, laid-back figure in a denim jacket that he was, one would not have immediately come up with “extreme”. Not upon first impressions, anyways. Behind the rapid progression of his public life, this grounded individual of quiet intensity was not so much dramatic as one would expect, but deeply thoughtful and level headed. As Bracey would explain later on, he’s happy to be home again, to see friends of his, and share each other’s success. For someone who has been working non-stop since 19, Bracey has now tried to “… be a human being again… and breath…”, enjoying the simple pleasures of travel.
We talked becoming the latest face of Ralph Lauren and the significance of the fragrance, taking life head on, his explosive but steady ascension to being a household name, as well as the diligence required to honour not only a career, but a legacy.
How does it feel to have the weight of such an iconic and storied brand on your shoulders?
It’s a huge responsibility… I got the call about it, and my first initial reaction was, “Yoo hoo, you beauty!”. Like how exciting. And then it was like, “Woah… this is big…”. And, as you say, such a storied history. Such an amazing brand, such an iconic brand. And to be kind of entrusted with one of their fragrances… Terrifying, but fear is a great motivator. For me, at least. I love being scared of things. It makes me cross my t’s, and dot my I’s. To the best I can, and not screw up.
To be part of this brand is just… when I say dream come true, it was kind of like something when I started acting that I really, I never said out loud. But I really always wanted to be part of a cologne campaign. I just think that, cologne is a great thing for some people. It’ll never make you a new person, it’ll never change who you are—it’ll allow you to be all that you are. Just to give you that little confidence… That’s a real positive thing, and that’s why I like the idea of cologne. Especially this one… it just has all the perfect mixes of what I like in a cologne. The brand itself is the perfect mix of elegance and masculinity. It’s the luxury brand that I identify with the most. This is the fragrance I identify with the most. It’s not too musky, and not too sweet. Its got a bit of punch. It can be worn with a leather jacket, a denim shirt, or a suit at a nice dinner party.
It’s that versatility of Ralph Lauren that I think I love about it. I like putting a suit on but I also like wearing a denim jacket, just going for it. That’s a great jacket you’ve got on [Thank you.]. To be part of this brand… I feel privileged.
And did you have a say in the construction of the scent? Did you have to, I don’t know, sweat in every bottle, was that part of the contract?
[Laughs.] No… I did a movie, ‘Point Break’… this was just launching. I think it was just timing. Great timing, where I had a say in the attitude of it. The attitude I could bring into the campaign, and the idea of it, and to encapsulate what this smell encapsulates, you know? Being bold, taking risks and owning them. Living a life that’s filled with adrenaline. Whatever that adrenaline is. You don’t have to ride motorbikes off a cliff, or surf giant waves. As long as you take things on that you’re passionate about. That challenge you. Full tilt, straight at ‘em. That’s bravery, and that’s what this fragrance is about. Just taking on life.
You’re no stranger to carrying a legacy. Having assumed the iconic role of Johnny Utah in Point Break. How do you strike a balance between honouring the role, and by extension the film, and making it essentially your own?
It was my favourite movie growing up. I grew up in Freshwater, the northern beaches. I hired that from the video store every week, watch it every week, and go surfing. Every time I watched that movie, we’d go surfing. We loved that movie. And to be given that role, of course there’d be apprehension.
But to tell you the truth, there’s apprehension in every role I take… “Can I do this? I don’t know.” Fear being that great motivator, I’m terrified. Every time I get a job, and especially something like that. Not only the legacy and the history of the film, but also this new film I think it was going to take the legacy of point break and put it in a beautiful new light of 2017. And allow a brand new audience of people to get involved, start loving the original, you know? We were able to give them their Point Break.
We filmed for six months in ten different countries, six days a week. It was insane, I was twenty-four when I was shooting it. Honestly, I didn’t think I’d be able to survive it… All different climates, I had to be really fit, I couldn’t be sick, and I had to know all my lines. Every time the camera was on I was pretty much in front of it. I think because I was giving it everything I’d got, I think that allowed me to kind of breath easy with the legacy of it. I was living the ‘Point Break’ attitude with the movie… giving it everything I’d got. And not letting go, pushing as fast and as hard as I could go… I knew I was being true to the legacy, myself.
The last few years have just been a showcase of you. GI Joe, November Man, Hacksaw Ridge. Did you ever anticipate that you’d get to such a prominent point in your career so soon?
It’s kind of funny how it happens that way. You sit back and you go, “Wow, it’s happening like that…” [Snaps fingers.]. Then you go, “Oh well, I’ve actually been there in America for seven years.” But yeah, it has happened very quickly. The epitome of that, for me, was making ‘Hacksaw Ridge’. I just dreamt, when I started acting, that I’d maybe be in a movie like that for once in my career. So proud of that, such an amazing experience working with the best in the world. I mean, Mel Gibson is the best director in the world, in my opinion… and Andrew Garfield is one of the best actors in the world, Vince Vaughn, one of the best actors in the world. To work on a movie like that, tell such a special story… yeah, that was one where I didn’t think I’d get to have that experience so early on, and I’m thankful for that.
And I’ll never forget that… And I think it’s given me the ability to really acknowledge that going forward… Acknowledge how lucky I’ve been to be a part of this. I was a bit younger before, and you’re kind of looking upwards, you can’t help but look beyond things. Doing that move gave me real perspective… I still feel like I haven’t done anything. It’s a weird feeling. I was sitting there in the green room for the morning show, and some things popped up like, “Oh, coming up: Luke Bracey.” And I had that realisation that like, “Oh, I’ve made a few movies.”
I guess because you’re always looking ahead, and once you’ve finished a movie you’re like, I kind of know what to do now… could have done better… You can’t think that way. You just have to take that onto the next one. You’re always looking in front of you, sometimes it’s just hard to see the forest with the trees… I’ve been able to push myself, and challenge myself, and make mistakes. Learn from them.
And finally, what gives you the most adrenaline?
Ooh, ah. To tell you the truth, mostly stuff like this. Interviews and putting myself out there… Acting… exposing yourself.