The Unbelievable True Story Of A 23-Year-Old Game Of Tag Is Now A Movie

Photo: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images
They can run. They can hide. But, no matter where they go during the month of May, they can't escape the prospect of becoming "It" — and they won't stop until they can break one man's nearly 30-year winning streak. For this group of friends, tag is war.
That's essentially the premise of the new film, Tag, featuring a slew of well-known actors including Jeremy Renner, Jon Hamm, Jake Johnson, Isla Fisher, Annabelle Wallis, Leslie Bibb, Ed Helms, Hannibal Buress, and Rashida Jones. The trailer, which dropped on Tuesday, depicts a group of friends who have been playing the same game of tag for approximately three decades.
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Here's how it works: Each May, no matter where they are in the world, these high school pals become a target in a ruthless battle. Gone are the days of innocent shoulder taps on the playground. These guys will wake their friends in the middle of the night, fly across the globe to track them on vacation, and even interrupt each others' weddings to get their revenge. Whoever's the last person tagged at the end of the month remains "It" for the remainder of the year and is tasked with picking up the game the subsequent May.
But, this year, they're doing things a bit differently: They're going to make sure their friend Jerry (Renner) finally gets what's coming to him before he throws in the towel for good. Let's just hope that doesn't mean Jerry will break both of his arms like Renner did last summer.
The trailer looks hilarious, but what's even better than the all-star cast pranking each other is that this film is based on a real-life story. Back in 2013, The Wall Street Journal introduced the world to The Tag Brothers, a gaggle of dudes so committed to playing tag that they incorporated it into their lifestyles — and they're just as competitive as their on-screen depictions.
In an essay penned for the The Guardian, tag player Joe Tombari explained that the friends used tag as a way to keep in touch after they started college. Over time, they've had to make some adjustments.
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"Now we are grown men, we don't run like Usain Bolt, so subterfuge and collusion have become our weapons. Eleven months of the year are spent planning," Tombari wrote. "Collaborating with a friend is where the fun is — we can spend hours discussing approaches."
So, basically it's a hybrid of Survivor and The Amazing Race minus the promise of a massive payout for the winner. And, if you thought that some of the scenarios in the trailer were too extreme to be true, like, tagging someone at a funeral, you'd be wrong.
"Perhaps one of the most unexpected tags was during Mike's father's funeral," Tombari wrote. During the service, he felt a hand on his shoulder and turned to find Joe mouthing, 'You're it.' Afterwards, he said his father would have approved, because he found our game hilarious."
Tag is out in theaters on June 15.

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