Get braced for Australian newcomer Luke Bracey

Luke Bracey had never handled firearms before filming November Man and had to train hard to look convincing as a gun-toting spy in the movie. -- PHOTO: SHAW ORGANISATION
Luke Bracey had never handled firearms before filming November Man and had to train hard to look convincing as a gun-toting spy in the movie. -- PHOTO: SHAW ORGANISATION

Hunky newcomer Luke Bracey looks set to become the next big thing from Australia, whether he likes it or not

Remember the name Luke Bracey.

The Australian newcomer has been tipped as one to watch by the likes of Interview Magazine, thanks to his hunky leading man looks. That he has been cast in the remake of crime action hit Point Break (1991), in the role made famous by Keanu Reeves, does not hurt his desirability quotient, either.

Before that, though, he is going up against a former James Bond in the spy thriller November Man, which opens here tomorrow. He plays David Mason - a former subordinate of the codenamed titular agent played by Pierce Brosnan - who has to decide where his loyalties lie when the two of them face off over a cover-up of a war crime.

Over the telephone from southern Italy where he is filming, the 25-year-old actor says he enjoyed watching spy thriller action movies when he was growing up and, of course, they included the superspy James Bond movies of the 1990s.

"Pierce was the Bond that I grew up with and that's one of the biggest reasons that I really, really wanted to do this movie. I felt like a little kid sometimes on set looking up to James Bond, but it was a lot of fun.

"It was great to work with someone whom I've kind of admired my whole life," he says of the Irish actor who played Bond in GoldenEye (1995), Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), The World Is Not Enough (1999) and Die Another Day (2002).

"It's a little strange. It's also really exciting because it's the first big movie that's coming out for me."

In addition to the "daunting" task of "trying to match Pierce in terms of character and acting, given he's such a seasoned actor and performer", Bracey also found it one of the biggest challenges in this film to look like he could handle guns like a professional.

"I never shot a handgun and had to try and portray that truthfully. It was something that I worked on, that I wanted to get right," he explains.

Bracey got his start in the Australian soap Home And Away in 2009 playing a devious teenager. When he was around 20, he moved to America and roles started to go his way, including in the comedyromance Monte Carlo (2011) and action adventure flick G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013).

The shift from Sydney to Hollywood was something of a culture shock at first.

He says: "The idea that there's a lot of people in that town looking into the same things that you are and trying to get noticed. But I thoroughly enjoy the challenge and hopefully I can get to the top of it."

The buzz is already building.

Apart from November Man and Point Break, he is in yet another high-profile project, The Best Of Me. In the adaptation of the Nicholas Sparks' novel of the same name, Bracey plays the young version of James Marsden's character.

But he is smart enough not to be distracted by pronouncements of him as the next big thing. He says: "I haven't really thought about it. I guess I try not to, and just try and do my work well."

He adds: "If I can make films that my family and friends really, really like, I'd be really happy."

Clearly, family and friends are important to him. The Los Angeles-based Sydney native looks forward to his trips back home and seems to take to heart Brosnan's advice to him: "He told me about staying grounded and being surrounded by people who love you and care for you."

Which is why, he adds, he would find it hard to be a spy, like his character in November Man.

"The hardest thing would definitely be the isolation. That's something that Mason struggles with, having to be very anonymous and not have much personal relationships. Not to talk to my family and friends, not have a relationship with a woman, that would be the most challenging part for me."

He was previously rumoured to have dated actress-singer Selina Gomez, whom he acted alongside in Monte Carlo.

That aside, there has not been much gossip surrounding the clean-cut Bracey.

Then again, he may just be good at hiding his darker side. His most spy-like quality, he claims, is that he can be "quite secretive".

"I have moments when people sometimes come up and ask me if I'm all right and I'm normally fine, I've very happy, but I have this quite serious contemplative look on my face sometimes."

bchan@sph.com.sg

November Man opens in cinemas tomorrow.

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