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Prior to meeting Luke Bracey on the Set of the Best of Me back in May I really didn’t know much about him. My daughter had seen him in the movie Monte Carlo but I had never seen him in anything. Of everyone I met I think I was most impressed by him. He was really genuine and treated us like we were doing him a favor by interviewing him.
I had the chance to sit by him and chat with him for a few minutes at lunch. He was kind enough to sign something for my daughter.
When I met up with him later in the day to do the interview he remembered my daughter’s name which I thought was quite impressive. He even did a quick shout-out to her.
He definitely made a fan out of me.
About Luke Bracey
Luke Bracey was born in Sydney, Australia (April 26, 1989) and made his acting debut in the soap opera “Home and Away” in 2009 as bad-boy Trey Palmer. He later appeared as Aaron on Dance Academy then co-starred in the movie Monte Carlo opposite Leighton Meester. In 2013 he was cast in the male lead role of ABC’s drama Westside alongside Odette Annable and Jennifer Beals, he also played Cobra Commander in G.I. Joe: Retaliation.
In 2014 he stars in the films The November Man and The Best of Me. He is currently filming a reprise of Keanu Reeve’s character Johnny Utah from the 1991 movie Point Break.
Luke Bracey Q&A
May 13, 2014
So, you’re playing the same role as James Marsden but 20 years apart, that’s obviously a different situation. So, how has that been?
I really enjoyed it. James and I sat down a couple of times before we started shooting and we just talked about the accent obviously.
Mine is a little different to his. But, we didn’t want to bash anyone over the head with it. We wanted it to be nice and subtle.
We wanted it to be in his own identity not only away from his family that he kind of struggles to get away from, but we also wanted him to have his own identity within the town and away from Amanda’s background, and something like that.
We worked on small, physical things, but we also agreed that he comes a long way from when I play him to when James is.
He goes through a lot, obviously a lot of stuff you don’t see, and I think we wanted to leave enough room for there to be a growth in him.
So, we just wanted the subtleties to be there, which tied it together. It also gave us both range and both area to go certain ways. We’d go either way.
Favorite scene to film
One of the best things about my role in this movie playing young Dawson is that I think, whenever you see young Dawson and young Amanda, you always see them at the very crucial moments of their relationship in their lives.
It’s these moments where there’s big consequences kind of in almost every scene that we’ve got. So, to tell you the truth, most every scene has been a pleasure to film and really exciting, but there’s been some beautiful ones.
The one in the rain on the roof over there–beautiful scene. Then you’ve got very intense scenes like in the prison and stuff like that, saying goodbye to her and all that.
And they were hard, emotionally, in the tough days, but then you have some great fun having a bit of a fight with my dad for an entire day.
I grew up playing rugby, so if I can get in there and then have a bit of a rough and tumble, it’s pretty fun. It’s always a good day at work. But, I can’t really nail down exactly a favorite scene, but there’s definitely a few in them like that.
There’s really emotionally charged ones with every emotion I’ve been able to kind of try and explore, and there’s fear and anger involved, and all that. So, it’s actually all been such an absolute thrill doing it.
James had no problem answering that the eleven minute sex scene was his favorite. Do you and the young Amanda have a sex scene?
Yes. We do, we do, and they are–let me tell you, they are not as romantic as they were. They are far from romantic. You’re in a small, little room with you and another, with an actress, and then seven sweaty men.
And you’ve got to pretend like they’re not sitting there and that it’s all natural and beautiful, and you’ve got to do it a bunch of times, but it’s not the best part, absolutely.
It might have been one of my least favorite scenes to film, actually, because it’s really strange to be sitting there in nude-colored underwear for a good couple of hours.
Were you familiar with the story before committing to the project, and what was the most challenging part of playing young Dawson?
I wasn’t aware of the story before I was told about the film, but I was sitting at home in Australia in January and I got this e-mail through, and I read the script. And they said, “Oh, please give the script a read.”
I was sitting home. My parents actually are set outside on the balcony and read the script, and I came in an hour and a half or two hours later.
I walk in and mom and dad, you know, all, “How was the script?”
When you read these stories you can get really involved and really attached to these characters and these events that occurred to them.
I mean, once you read it, I did want to be a part of it, and something that challenged me was Dawson’s got such strength and such vulnerability at the same time.
He’s really unsure of himself. Especially when I play him in this younger stage. That’s the beauty of their relationship I think, is that it takes Amanda convincing him that he’s worth being loved and loving.
And he comes from a tough upbringing and he’s really never been told that he’s worth anything really. And he’s worth a lot.
He’s a very intelligent person and I think he’s one of the nicest people that I’ve ever come across. I think he’s so noble and so honorable and I just hope that I can take some of his qualities with me.
With work, with myself, when I lay with him, because I think he’s a very noble and honorable person and I think, as I said, it takes Amanda to really bring out the best in him.
You find there’s some beautiful moments where you do see he gets to laugh and really be free and you get the sense, I think, it’s for the first time in his life, and then that’s one of the really special things about their relationship.
She gives him his freedom to be himself, to know that it’s all right to laugh, and make mistakes, and love, and I think, it’s a really special relationship.
Do you know much about fixing cars? Working on cars?
No, I grew up on the beach in Sydney, so I had a surfboard instead of a car. That was my car, but I am really interested by them.
It’s always good to know a bit more, in case something goes wrong on my drive home this afternoon.
But, no, I got to learn a bit of stuff. We worked with Rick Damazio who works on the cars here, and there were some beautiful cars.
There’s gorgeous cars. So it was good to know a little bit here and there and learn how to change the spark wires and all that stuff.
I really enjoyed it. That’s one of the good things about my job, I think, is that I get to learn a lot of different things.
It doesn’t matter what film I’m doing or what job I’m doing. There’s always a certain skillset that the character has, or is acquiring, or possesses and I think one of the really exciting parts about my job is that I get to learn about a lot of different things from experts in the field. So, I really enjoyed working on the cars.
James said that the two of you took a test to see if you had some of the same interests and same kind of personality things, and you scored 85 percent similar.
Did he really? We did a personality test before we started shooting. We did one for ourselves and one for the character. I didn’t know that James and I had such a similarities.
It was a really interesting test, actually. It was funny. It was probably a bit easier doing the test as Dawson than as myself for some reason.
That’s kind of a confidence builder just before you start shooting, to feel that you know the characters well enough to shoot the scene.
But, yes, I didn’t know what our differences were. I didn’t know we were so similar. I guess that’s a good thing. He’s a great guy and I’m similar to him.
What’s the craziest or funniest thing that happened on the set so far?
We’ve had some run-ins. There was an alligator here yesterday. It was about seven foot long and it was just sunbathing I guess. But, that was pretty interesting. We had to do some stuff out of the cottage.
We went swimming in the bayou when you didn’t really have a choice in the matter, so it was interesting. But, it was quite a warm day, so that was quite nice. But, the alligator, I didn’t expect to see the alligator there yesterday.
But, the only thing is as well is trying to stay on that roof and not fall off it when they’ve got the rain machines up and everything like that. It’s been some moments like that.
We were on the roof, and then the storm came in, and we had to quickly scramble into the windows. The lightening was cracking just over there and that was pretty exciting.
Australian food you miss being here.
I miss my meat pies. Meat pies. Hand-sized meat pie, tomato sauce, ketchup on the top. Always miss that.
I go home every December and January for five weeks or so for Christmas and New Year, and there’s moments in June, July where I wake up in the morning, “I’m going to go get a meat. Oh, no, it’s going to be six months until I have a meat pie.”
But, no, that’s the one food that I do miss. And my mother’s spaghetti bolognaise.
Favorite flavor of ice cream.
I like vanilla. I think you can judge an ice cream on how good it is by how good their vanilla is. I think there’s some ice cream over there. I’m going to have to get some a bit later.
I’m a vanilla guy. I don’t need any sprinkles. I don’t need any caramel sauce. Just in a cone, in a bowl, either, or. I don’t mind. Vanilla for me.
Do you think you’d be friends with Dawson if you met him in real life? Would you get along?
I think we would. I mean, I think I’d be a little louder than him maybe, but I would really respect him. I really respect the guy.
He’s gone through so much, and there’s points during filming this when I was kind of, “Oh, he just gets it handed to him a lot.”
But, I think I would be friends with him once I got to know him, once he started trusting me.
That’s a big thing to him, his trust. It’s hard for him to trust people. He’s been broken down and let down a lot in his life, but I think once he can let someone in–and not many people get in–but once they get in, I think he’s a very loyal and a very honorable person.
As I said, I’d hope he’s my friend because I know he’d have my back. That’s for sure. He’s one of those friends that I think wouldn’t let you down ever, ever.
Did you do much research before you played him, on his lifestyle?
Yes, I did a bit of stuff like that. You know, learning about rural Louisiana in the early ’90s and stuff like that. He’s quite good engineering-wise, and he enjoys his science and physics, so I made sure I did some reading on that.
There’s a part of the script where he talks about building a telescope as a kid, and there was a line in there, and it was a bit of a redundant line about civilizations using the stars, and I thought that, you know, Dawson would have something a bit more intelligent to say, or something a bit more in depth. So, I did some research on how I wanted to say that and what I wanted to get across with that.
I really tried to delve into his passions. As I said, I tried to learn about cars and I tried to do some work on physics and science and all those things. And also, kind of the climate around those years.
I mean, ’90, ’91, ’92, how the world was feeling. The Berlin Wall just came down. There was a certain sense of freedom, but also an apprehension of what comes from that, and I think that honestly permeated throughout the world. And I think that that was part of him as well.
There was an apprehension in him, and I think as much as he wants to go out and build a life for himself, and stand on his own two feet, and go out there and get it, there’s something holding him back. And I think the world was like that for a hot minute there.
What did you take away from the project or learn about yourself?
That’s a good question, and I think every time I do work and every time you explore a character, you hope that you can take something from it. I mean, be it personally or be it professionally, and I’ve learned a lot.
I’ve been working with people like James. We haven’t had specific scenes together, but getting to know him and his process, and also working with people like Gerald McRaney, who played Tuck, and Sean Bridgers, who plays my father, you can learn just so much about acting and about working on films from people that are professionals.
And that’s how you’ve got to kind of take beat and attitude into these films, is you’ve got to be very professional and prepared.
And then also, I’ve taken away, as I said, things from Dawson, you know? His honor, his strength of character, his, not only ambition, but his doggedness.
When he wants something, he goes and gets it. As much as he’s held back from Amanda in all these circumstances, he still drives and wants to be with her.
And after a while, once he lets her in, he realizes that his life’s nothing without this girl and his future lover.
So I really admire his passion and, as I said, his honor. He’s such a noble person. I think he’s a very, very special guy, and someone, as I said, I wish I’d knew him. I wish he was my friend. I’ve made friends with him now, though.
I know him pretty well and that’s the really nice thing, when you can work and if you can really settle into a character. And I feel I settled into him very early in the process, and I kind of knew what he’d do in every situation. And that’s a good thing to be in early on, and so that’s when little things come up during filming or whatever.
I’m really glad that I got to learn about him, and portray him, and bring him to life, and hopefully I can take all his good qualities and maybe leave some of my bad qualities behind.
Super impressed by this up and coming actor. Can’t wait to see him in the movie The Best of Me on October 17th.