There is something magical about doing something for no reason other than play.
It is uncommon for adults unless they make specific plans for it, but kids are great at walking into a situation and immediately beginning to play with other kids, even if they’ve never met before. I watch it in my own kids, and it’s a sort of fearlessness that adults have crushed out of them. When kids are playing and really enjoying themselves, they’re not worried about anything else. They’re not thinking about anything else. They’re not worried about how cool they look. They’re just playing, and it’s a very pure form of pleasure.
Holding on to that, in any form, is not easy, and I’m curious to see how Will Ferrell and Jack Black handle “Tag Brothers,” a film that The Wrap reports is being developed for the two of them to star in by New Line and Todd Garner’s Broken Road. It’s based on an article that appeared in the Wall Street Journal about a group of adults who started playing an elaborate game of tag years ago. Now, as they approach middle-age, they still spend one month out of the year going to insane lengths to declare one another “It.”
I was a big fan of John Bendel’s short story “The Water Fight” that appeared in National Lampoon back in the ’70s, and I especially loved the way a game of sorts escalated into life-long mania. No matter how much the players in this particular game of tag make it sound like a game, there’s also something sort of insane about flying across the country, hiding in someone’s bushes for two days, and then springing out to tag them when you’re both in your 40s, employed, with families and lives and obligations.
Garner’s company bought the article in the first place, and then took it to New Line, and now that Will Ferrell and Jack Black are attached to star in the film, I would expect it’s going to come together quickly. Mark Steilen is writing the film right now, and once there’s a filmmaker attached, we’ll have a better idea of what sort of movie they’re going to try to make out of such an intriguing premise.