Get to know the handsome, Australian-born star of the Point Break remake

By Kara Warner
Updated December 23, 2015 07:05 PM
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While his rugged good looks might make him ideal leading man material, acting wasn’t originally in the cards for Luke Bracey.

“I wanted to be a pro rugby player,” the 25-year-old Sydney native tells PEOPLE. “I think my mother is pretty happy I don’t do that anymore.” Bracey planned on playing the sport professionally until six years ago he landed a role on the star-making Aussie soap Home and Away (Chris Hemsworth and Isla Fisher are also alums), which led to a small role in the Selena Gomez RomCom Monte Carlo and a bold move to Los Angeles at age 20.

“I didn’t go to university so I made sure when I came over here I put my head down and worked hard and didn’t fall into some of the traps that people can fall into in this town,” he says. “I really avoided it and it’s not who I am anyway. I wasn’t really worried about it, but I’m sure my parents we’re a little apprehensive and worried maybe up until [Point Break],” he adds with a laugh. “Maybe they are still worried.”

RELATED VIDEO: Luke Bracey Stars in the 2015 reboot of Point Break

Bracey says filming the remake (out Dec. 25) — which he promises is not “a tribute act” and included exotic locations, dangerous stunts, learning how to rock climb and spending time with extreme athletes — was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. “I got a lifetime’s worth of experience in six months and saw our planet in beautiful ways,” he says. “Every day was a pinch-me kind of day.”

So what does Bracey like to do when he’s not working?

“I like to read the newspaper and play backgammon, drink a beer and go surfing,” he says. “I’m a man of simple pleasures. I’ve been really fortunate with my life so far, my job is to try and entertain people and I just hope they enjoy the movies I make.”

The man of simple pleasures is also one full of idealistic quotes, which he delivers with twinkle in his eye and a smile on his face.

“But there are more important things in life than work,” says Bracey. “It’s more important to count stars than to count money.”

Point Break opens Christmas Day.