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The Always Memorable and Never Categorizable Eddie Tang

Acting is transformative. When done exceptionally well, this is as true for the actor as for the audience. Eddie Tang grew up in New South Whales, a typical sports loving boy. His neighborhood had a certain dangerous crime element to it and this solidified his resolve to seek something positive for his own future. After middle school musical productions and studying with acclaimed acting teachers like Kevin Jackson (who has coached and worked with such notable actors as Cate Blanchett and Sam Worthington), Eddie has not only manifested a successful acting career in his home country but has been increasingly in demand in the United States. Travelling to the opposite side of the planet to a country known as the Olympics of filmmaking, Tang has proven to himself that the pursuit of positive dreams in not only possible but reality. As the joke goes, this overnight success was decades in the making. For his part, seeking the ability to bring something unique to every opportunity, whether it be a feature film or a one-minute-long commercial, is the required and essential ingredient.

“Eddie Tang pictured on far left”

Film work is considered by many to be the epitome of success for an actor. From short indie films to big budget features (as the Chef in Happy Feet Two), Eddie has experienced them all. As a somewhat loveable kidnapper in the Australian film Three Sixty (the affable Zac) to the ironic psychologist with abandonment issues who specializes in patients with father issues in Go Forward, this actor seems particularly adept at avoiding typecasting. His role in the soon to be released Pacific Park as Don the drug dealing pimp is a prime example of Tang’s ability to blur the lines that separate benevolent and malicious characters. Even though Don supplies cocaine to a man whose family has been devastated by a death resulting from drug abuse, he is able to come across as someone vastly different than the cartoonish dealer so often presented. Brewing the right character cocktail for such a person is something that Eddie does without placing blame. He relates, “I chose to look at Don's backstory as if he was a father, providing for his family leaving a hand to mouth existence in his past, suffering from an abusive childhood, being in a life of crime, all to ensure that food was on the table, and a roof was over his family's head. Everyone can relate to someone wanting to provide for their loved ones. In the scene between Don and Russell, it’s about providing for my family while helping out a friend to make him feel better and alleviate him from his pain & suffering. This shows the audience that I'm a good guy just wanting to help a friend out. This is unfortunately how one can turn artistically a dark character into a good character.”

A commercial may be immensely shorter in duration than a film but requires the same staunch work ethic from someone as committed as Eddie. He’s adamant that every production he works on demands the same attention to detail while offering the chance to grow as an actor. These are national and international ads which reach an audience as big, sometimes bigger, than any film. Appearing in commercials for KFC, ANZ Bank, Panasonic, and others has allowed Eddie to be seen during the Olympics, the World Cup, and many of the most watched events on the planet. Most recently, Eddie is featured in the “Like a Bosch” ad for Bosch’s hydrogen fueled electric truck. Proving that these productions offer the chance to stretch his creative skills, Tang cites such eclectic influences as a Silverback Gorilla, a Chimpanzee, and dance styles ranging from Salsa to Hip Hop and Techno; all in one acting sequence! This culminated in one of the most transfixing moments of the ad. Eddie recalls, “When the Director said ‘your character also does a bit of a dance at the end, can you give us a bit of a dance to the commercials music soundtrack?’ I happily agreed, they pressed play, and the music came on over the speakers in the casting room as I went on a bit of a dance routine. It captivated their attention and blew their minds. They lit up, couldn’t stop laughing at the Alexander technique/animal comedic/subliminal movement/ Hip Hop & salsa all infused into one routine that I used. They yelled out EEEDDDIIIEEE TTTTAAANNG!!! That might be my favorite audition ever.”

East West 101 is a hugely popular Australian TV series about culture clashes investigated by detective Zane Malik. As Caesar Mendez, crime boss and perpetrator of an assassination attempt, Eddie became known to Australian fans as a menacing presence. Presenting a different shade of antagonist from that of Zac in Three Sixty, Tang received great accolades for manifesting one of the darkest roles for him yet. From iconic actress Susie Porter to critics, Tang’s presentation of Caesar Mendez was lauded as one of the most frightening characters of this thrice AFI Awarded series (currently known as the AACTA Awards, Australia’s equivalent to the Academy Awards).

As more of his work is available worldwide on streaming services (Amazon Prime is currently airing Three Sixty), there’s no doubt that the acclaim of this celebrated Australian actor will exponentially increase. With Netflix and Amazon Prime’s strong nominations and wins at this year’s Oscars, the global reach of talent is unquestionable. Actors have the ability now to simply tell the Hollywood system to pull their complete body of work up in seconds. The film game will continue to change and the faces we see will change with it; one of which is that of Eddie Tang…in some unexpected and compelling form.

Written by Patrick Wilson
The Always Memorable and Never Categorizable Eddie Tang Reviewed by JaamZIN on 9:07:00 AM Rating: 5
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