Adrenaline junkie. Masculine. A go-get-it attitude. These are just a few of the characteristics embodied by Australian badass Luke Bracey. They also happen to be traits that come to mind when you get a whiff of the new Polo Red Extreme fragrance. So, it makes sense that the brand chose Bracey to represent the scent. From motorcycle stunts to ambitions to play James Bond to 12-hour work days preceded by 5am workouts, “go-getter” is actually perhaps an understatement of his ambition. We sat down with the actor for straight-talk on motivation, wave-riding, and his 6-month, 11-country fitness challenge.
Men’s Fitness: How would you define the word “fitness”?
Luke Bracey: It’s holistic. It’s not physical, purely. It’s body, mind, and soul. It’s all of those things. I believe in healthy body, healthy mind, as well. You keep moving, and a body in motion stays in motion kind of thing. A mind in motion stays in motion. Fitness for me, is life. We’re animals that move and move a lot and move well and we need it. I need it, personally.
MF: So you’re not a gym guy? How do you stay in shape?
LB: I’ll go to the gym regularly. I go through periods where I’ll have an intense period of training and exercise—gym and outdoor stuff. Then I’ll have a few weeks off. I go in those rhythms, but I do like to stay active as much as I can. Even if it’s just walking around for an hour or so or go for a surf, even a 100 pushups a day thing. I try and whack in 100 pushups, 100 situps a day just to keep it moving, keep the blood flowing. I don’t like to pigeonhole it. It’s got to be natural for you. Once you’re forcing it, that’s when you’re gonna form a bad relationship with it. It’s gotta be a positive relationship, you’ve gotta be doing it for yourself and no other reason.
MF: What motivates you?
LB: I think it’s that idea of not wanting to waste this oxygen that I’ve got. You get one shot at this. I grew up on a beach in Sydney, and it’s an outdoors lifestyle. It’s built around moving and experiencing stuff outdoors, and the ocean, and the parks, and the nature. Playing sports. When you grow up with that, it really becomes part of you.
MF: What goes on in your mind when you exercise or train?
LB: It’s [exercise] gonna make me feel better and I do feel better after it. There’s that endorphin rush that is something that can’t be described. Once you do get into that rhythm, as much as it hurts to exercise, you push through that pain barrier, you start feeling better, and so you keep doing it, you feel better and better and better and better and better as a person the more you’re doing it. That’s motivating, as well, when you really feel the positive effects of the work you’re putting in. Not just seeing them in the mirror, but feeling them.
MF: How did you get into surfing?
LB: My dad. We grew up right on the beach and he grew up surfing. When you live across the road from the beach, it’s a great babysitter so your parents try to get you in there as quick as possible. He put me on a surfboard before I could walk and I just spent every day down at the beach, really. It’s just ever-changing. It’s a playground that is different every day, which is an amazing thing.
It’s such a special thing to be a part of. I always felt at home by the ocean. When I’m on the coast, I can point to myself on a map. I feel a bit lost if I’m inland. If I’m on the coast, I can imagine and visualize a map in my head and I can point to myself and, “Okay, that’s where I am.” Maybe it’s almost a back to the wall kind of idea, as well. There’s the ocean and there’s the land and I’ve got my back to that and I can face everything coming that way. I feel at home.
MF: What’s been your most physical acting role thus far?
LB: Point Break. And the last one I did [Hacksaw Ridge] was very physical. I did a lot of training for that. I put on a bit of muscle for that and wanted to really embody that rough and tumble kind of guy. I did a lot of training. Ropes, climbing up ropes, and stuff like that. Very basic stuff.
MF: What was it about Point Break that made it so demanding?
LB: That was really hard physically because we went to 11 countries in six months and I needed to stay in shape in all those different climates. It was a little scary actually at the start I was saying, ‘Okay, I’ve got six months to make this movie. I can’t get sick. I have to stay in shape and I’m going all these different places with all these different cuisines and climates.’ It was a real challenge, but it was so rewarding when I finished that. To know that I really did push myself to the absolute end of what I had.
MF: That’s a shock to the body…
LB: There were times where I was at 3,800 meters above sea level, 12,000 feet above sea level, running up and down stairs for a day. I’ve never been that far above sea level at all. Then to finish that day of work for 10, 12 hours, I’d come down and have to go to the gym for an hour. Then wake up the next morning, and at five o’clock I’m on a treadmill for half an hour, then back up to that mountain—running up and down.
MF: How did you manage the different cuisines?
LB: You’ve gotta have fun with it. You can always find healthy stuff that tastes good. It doesn’t have to be just straight chicken and steamed broccoli. You can find beautiful flavors and beautiful foods. You’ve gotta listen to your body, as well. If you feel you want some sugars and you want some fruits and you should have some stuff like that. But, there was a lot of fish. We went to Tahiti and the South of Italy, and so we got a lot of great fish. The one food that I’ve taken from that movie was this local dish that they have in Tahiti called Poisson Cru, which is basically tuna sushi with coconut milk and rice and it’s absolutely delicious.
MF: What’s next for you? Any roles you’d like to do?
LB: God, there’s so many. To leave it up to me, I’d never make a decision. Some things that have come my way are cool. I’m hopefully going to make this movie, a conspiracy theory type of movie. I’ve been watching a couple of conspiracy movies like All the President’s Men and The Firm and stuff like that. I’d really like to play a guy that knows too much and just gets in too deep. There’s a movie that I’m attached to that hopefully we can get made this year that kind of looks that way. There’s another one that’s set in 1815 in the Regency Era in London, which is a lot of fun—that would be good. But, the main one, I’d like to play is James Bond. I think that’d be so much fun.
MF: What’s it been like being a part of Ralph Lauren’s Polo Red Extreme campaign?
LB: It’s been great. I don’t know exactly how they came to choose me. But there’s just so much adrenaline and masculinity involved with this fragrance. This real “go-get-it” kind of attitude that comes through. And you can see with the motocross we’ve got in it. And the Point Break inspiration at the start.
MF: And you actually do this stuff, too…
LB: Yeah. I did a bit on Point Break and I’ve done some with some friends. I’ve got some mates that own properties in Australia. They’re farmers and stuff like that. We’re always going out there and taking a ride around. And, growing up on the beach, water is my main element. But I’m really getting into these motorbikes, actually. I’m really enjoying it.
Polo Red Extreme is available 3/1.