'November Man' Star Teases 'Point Break' Remake: "I Am Giving It Everything I've Got"
What is Johnny Utah up to in the 21st century?
Fighting James Bond or rebooting a beloved movie: which is a scarier prospect for an actor?
This is the type of question Australian star Luke Bracey must ask himself as he prepares for Wednesday's launch of The November Man while also shooting the reboot of Point Break, in which he plays Johnny Utah, the role Keanu Reeves made famous in the 1991 surfer thriller.
Bracey, 25, stars opposite Pierce Brosnan in November Man, playing a young CIA assassin tasked with bringing down his former mentor.
The Hollywood Reporter caught up with him earlier this month to talk about going toe-to-toe with Brosnan and to see what he could reveal about the Point Break reboot.
What is it like going up against Pierce Brosnan?
Pierce was a lovely man. He's such a great guy. To go up against James Bond — I don't think to call it intimidating quite cuts it. He was the Bond I grew up with, and I was beside myself. I couldn't believe how lucky I was to work with him.
Did he show you the ropes for action movies?
I did a bit of gun training for my first time, which is something he obviously has done. One thing I took away from him was that it's about enjoying the experience of making a good movie. Also there is a real professionalism involved in his work. When you are making action movies, they are physically exhausting and emotionally intense. He does not take them lightly. They are not regular movies. When you are doing a fight scene for 12 hours of the day, you've got to take care of yourself and not bash yourself up on the weekends too much, either.
Is your take on Point Break a new take or is it a throwback to the flavor of the original?
It is a new take. The original is honestly one of my favorite movies. When you've seen a movie 1,001 times, it's got to be one of your favorites, and I've seen it about 1,003 times, I think. I feel to pay respect to it, we have to update it. We have to leave the original as the original. What Keanu (Reeves) and Patrick (Swayze) did was amazing and has been entertaining people for 25 years.
What can you tell us about it?
We are expanding it over the world. The original Point Break has such a global fan base, and what we're doing is incorporating the world into this new one. We are taking it out of Southern California and giving it over to the world and letting them into it. Everyone we've met while filming over here in Europe, they love the original, and I think it's really nice that we get to set this new one all over the world, because people all over the world love this story.
What is the toughest part about playing Johnny Utah?
When I got the email saying they were looking at me and a couple of other guys for the role, my first instinct was that "I have to get this. No one else can get this." I know this guy so well and I love the original so much.
I've never worked so hard on anything in my life as for the preparation and filming of this movie. I am giving it everything I've got. It's a five-month shoot. I'm going to leave nothing on the path, and when I get to the end of it, I've got to be able to look myself in the mirror and know that I gave it everything I've got.
You will also be straddling the action/leading man line with Nicholas Sparks' The Best of Me. How'd you decide to go from action to something like that?
Being lucky enough to be an actor and being able to get jobs, I feel very fortunate that I can do an action movie and then do a romantic drama, because you learn so much from either one of those, and you can take that to your next job. Maybe the next thing I do will be a comedy — I have no idea.
What's something you learned from that project?
There was a lady living next door to me in New Orleans when I was shooting it, and she was such a massive fan of the book. She was so excited when she figured out we were making this movie. I had the realization that we make movies for the audience to enjoy — we can get selfish in asking why we make movies and what we get out of them as actors or directors, but at the end of the day, once we finish the movie it is no longer ours. It is the audience's.