On the face of it, Tag would appear to be a very silly movie.
That’s because it revolves around of group of tight-knit friends, played by Ed Helms, Jon Hamm, Jake Johnson, Hannibal Buress and Jeremy Renner, that have played the game of tag through the month of May for 30 years.
But at its core the comedy is really about serious subjects like friendship and living life to the fullest, which is why those involved were adamant that its script was aboveboard.
So when Johnson and Hamm took issue with the dynamic of their characters, especially how they handled their romantic rivalry with Rashida Jones’ character Cheryl Deakins, the duo decided to take things into their own hands.
“Jon Hamm and I, who I didn’t know at all, all of a sudden we have a lot of scenes together,” Johnson recently recalled to me.
“A lot of the scenes we do, there’s this whole runner about the tie and me not having one. All of that was improvised, and that was just me and Jon in a two shot doing jokes together.”
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“In the original script, my character and Jon’s character, it was like a really heated rivalry for Rashida’s character. It was really poorly written in that she didn’t have a choice in the matter. We were competing for her. It was a really dated script.”
“When Jon and I were doing our scenes it never felt like a rivalry. It always felt like we liked each other. Like we were buddies. So the feeling of Callahan and Chilly hating each other that kind of changed.”
In fact, Johnson and Hamm altered their relationship so much that “Tag” actually required some reshoots.
“The scene we do with Rashida in the bar where she kind of calls it off was a big reshoot. Because we kind of realized, ‘It doesn’t make sense. Why are these guys fighting? These just feels wrong.’ It felt forced. It just didn’t feel how it felt when we shot it. So that was something that we changed.”
Johnson made it clear that everything else was plain sailing during “Tag’s” production, though, as he broke down how the cast would improvise and try to improve the script.
“We would always start with the script, then we would improvise. It was really fun to bounce off each other. The fun thing about this job was that not a lot of people knew each other or had worked with each other previously. So there wasn’t a built in chemistry.”
“So we were all trying to find the chemistry as it went. Which became kind of a fun challenge. It was really fun getting to work with and getting to know Hannibal Buress, because I didn’t know him. I was a fan of his, but all of a sudden we would find a nice rhythm.”
“Tag” is now in cinemas.