Every consummate and lauded professional is required to make his bones. In the movie Bird, Forrest Whitaker portrays iconic jazz musician Charlie Parker. When Parker confesses to one of his peers that he could use the work (and the pay) from playing at a Bar Mitzvah, the musicians create such a moving performance at the event that the crowd is overwhelmed by their good fortune at witnessing the artist in this setting. This perfectly portrays the truth that artists need to practice their talents in a variety of ways and earn a living through different opportunities. The prevalence of social media in today’s society serves as further proof that this idea that talent should only be packaged in certain ways is an outdated concept. When compared to commercial advertisements of just a decade ago, there are many more A-list celebrities who use their craft to empower advertisers. The stigma of yesteryear is gone. In fact, commercials that air during sporting events such as the Superbowl and the World Cup generate some of the largest profits in entertainment. In a free market system, this has driven the artistic content and production levels higher and higher. Eddie Tang, like many of his peers can be visible in film, TV, and commercial productions. Not only does this increase their recognizability but it also affords them a host of different roles to widen their artistic palette. Whether in films like the Hollywood Film Award nominated Three Sixty (in which he plays Zac, a personable kidnapper), the AACTA award-winning TV series East West 101 (as Caesar Mendez, a menacing gangster), or any number of fan favorite commercial campaigns, Eddie Tang has proven himself to be both attention grabbing and able to morph into drastically different characters. Enabling the audience to have an affinity for the friendly guy is a skill but helping them to embrace a truly awful character requires mastery…something which Tang has worked hard at achieving.
Eddie is known for his roles in film and TV productions in which he plays darker and menacing individuals. It’s ironic that he has been so successful in his commercial work portraying benevolent characters. As the ping-pong playing, night vision goggle wearing, KFC loving, buddy in KFC’s ‘Night Vision’ commercial or as the overly exuberant but loveable fan in Panasonic’s Viera TV spot (for the 2008 Beijing Olympics); Tang effortlessly becomes the friendly guy next door. He is so believable that one almost feels there is an evil twin portraying all of his ‘bad guy’ roles in his film and TV productions. One of Eddie’s calling cards and most requested techniques is the ‘dead pan’ that endears so many viewers of his commercial roles. Matt Kamen directed Eddie in Volkswagen’s “You Just Know” campaign. Kamen professes, “Eddie Tang is one of the most talented and prodigiously successful actors I have collaborated with. Eddie’s leading role required him to perform as the face of the campaign. In the commercial, Eddie’s character is a construction worker, shown trying to fit more equipment into his truck than it can handle. Simultaneously, a Volkswagen truck pulls up and Eddie’s character looks enviously at the enormous space that the vehicle provides. Eddie perfectly showcased the client’s desired tone of the Volkswagen being an enviable vehicle, surpassing the needs of not only civilian motorists, but also the needs of various other business types. It takes a skilled actor to understand the importance not over playing or under playing a role such as this. Eddie is truly a creative force to be reckoned with and was in invaluable asset to the production of the ‘You Just Know’ commercial campaign.
ANZ Bank made wise use of Tang’s talent in their “Travel Rewards Card” commercial. Eddie’s character of Lawrence the Boat Dad portrayed a jubilant father on vacation with his family. With his hands in the air, Lawrence enjoys a fun ride on a wave runner, carefree as he advertises his ‘pointless travel insurance’ through ANZ’s Travel Rewards Card. The role was a masterful performance due to the fact that, unknown to viewers, Eddie was incredibly sick. He reveals, “I have severe motion sickness and sea sickness. It wasn’t an ideal attribute for the lead role in this commercial but, some days are a breeze and some days are a monsoon. I was actually throwing up between each take. You can’t tell it in the commercial but I was incredibly sick the entire day. Besides the fact that I don’t enjoy boating, I’m a bit of a free spirit and hippy. I’m a complete contradiction to my character Lawrence but I like to think that we’re both very good people, just in different ways.” Director of this ANZ commercial, Paul Middlecitch, states, “The ‘Travel Rewards Card’ commercial was an enormous success, which I do not doubt is largely due to Eddie’s achievements on our production. The video was widely popular on YouTube, garnering nearly 100,000 views! This alone is a massive accomplishment that should not go unrecognized. Eddie was an invaluable member of our production and I consider the success of the commercial to be due to Eddie’s leading role. Eddie’s all-encompassing prowess as one of Australia’s elite actors has allowed him to establish himself as one of the country’s most successful talents.”
As one of Australia’s in-demand and prominent actors, Eddie Tang continues to prove his abilities and immense talent on a variety of platforms. You might see him on the big screen, on your TV, even on the web but, you will certainly take notice of him when you see his commanding yet endearing presence.