Eddie Cahill may have only played Tag Jones on Friends for seven episodes, however, it’s his most recognisable role ever. And now a whole new generation is able to stream it on BINGE, and get to know the lovable Tag Jones.
“I was thinking when I look at the show — and I know it got itself out of the 90s and into the early part of the 21st century — it blows my mind that it manages some kind of timelessness because it does very much feel of a time period. Yet it’s got this passport, living in a way that is rather surprising.”
Walking on set, Cahill was more concerned about being “green” than the pressures of an established series and recalls not even “sensing” the gravity of it all.
“I was starting out. It was my first time in Los Angeles. The day I booked the job, I was scheduled to fly back home to New York. I think the character and I were having very similar experiences, and I didn’t know that then. I didn’t quite know to like actively put that into the role. But it was all overwhelming because I was trying to make my way in the world.”
Cahill did, however, have a pinch-me moment backstage, when he ran into his co-star, Jennifer Aniston’s husband at the time, Brad Pitt.
“I did meet Brad while shooting, and that was also another sweet memory and quite disarming,” he said. “He sort of poked his head out of Jennifer’s dressing rooms and came up and introduced himself to me by saying my name. He said: ‘Hi Eddie, I’m Brad and I just wanted to say hello and Jennifer’s enjoying working with you.'”
“It was probably a couple of episodes in and his mum and his sister were there and he said, “Come in, I’d like to introduce you to my mother and sister.” So I walked in and met them. I mean, it was a really kind of charmed experience though, because I had no idea where I was.”
Here, Cahill talks about what he kept from the set, how the foosball table was actually used and why he has had such a successful career spanning two decades.
WATCH: The Latch puts Eddie Cahill to the test. Story continues…
Anita Anabel: Hi Eddie. This is a really big deal for me, speaking to you today. My inner-13-year-old is screaming! Your first major role was on Friends. I mean, could you get any better than that?! How did it feel to be cast?
Eddie Cahill: It was thrilling but all of the things that come with thrilling, you know all of the excited anxiety, the white-knuckling of it all — and the curiosity to where the heck I was, I just remember feeling like I was swept off my feet. I was just trying to find the ground. It was brilliant.
AA: What was it like being on set with the cast who had been established for almost seven and a half seasons?
EC: My feeling was, and I think certainly in the beginning part of it, that my focus was probably so in “work” that I didn’t even sense it. My memory and my experience were that I felt welcome. I felt that there was a lot of warmth on that set, even in the final callback room where all the producing staff was and Jennifer [Aniston] was in that room — it felt very warm to me.
I think I almost didn’t know where I was. To be honest with you in that respect, but the pressure was huge for me in that I was green. I was starting out. It was my first time in Los Angeles. The day I booked the job, I was scheduled to fly back home to New York. I think the character and I were having very similar experiences, and I didn’t know that then. I didn’t quite know to like actively put that into the role. But it was all overwhelming because I was trying to make my way in the world.
I decided I was going to do this thing that seemed impossible so the pressure was on.
AA: Do people still recognise you as Tag Jones? I mean, you’ve been in so many other things!
EC: Hands down this is the one that people recognise me from. It’s really kind of remarkable.
I had this experience maybe a year or two ago as it was coming back. I have an elementary school-aged child and I was walking through the school — and the other stuff I’ve done is mostly watched by older people or an older demographic and I started to notice these sixth-grade girls staring. I was like, hang on a second. Something must be going on. And sure enough, Friends was making its way into and finding a new generation.
AA: My sister is 17-years younger than me, and we’ve really bonded over the show.
EC: You know it’s wild because I feel like I did nothing. Do you know what I mean? But it’s such a strong association. I’m the beneficiary of walking into this thing and in a sense, it’s a funny thing with something like this because the response is so severe. Well, not severe, but heightened. I don’t mean this in a guilt way, but it feels rather unearned because there’s nothing else in my life I’ve ever done.
I’ve done cool things like fathering a child, but this kind of response is so unique and sometimes it’s hard to reconcile. It doesn’t often make sense.
AA: It was amazing that even during the Emmys in 2020, the three main cast women — Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox and Lisa Kudrow — caused such a buzz when they had a “mini-reunion” on-screen even though they’ve been friends this whole time.
EC: I was trying to think, when I was coming to talk to you, I was thinking when I look at the show — and I know it got itself out of the 90s and into the early part of the 21st century, it blows my mind that it manages some kind of timelessness because it does very much feel of a time period. Yet it’s got this passport, living in a way that is rather surprising.
AA: I read that you still keep in contact with David Schwimmer?
EC: No. I mean, well David and I will be in touch, I certainly reach out on his birthday and whatnot and we have loose contacts through a couple of friends but he’s the only one who I was ever friendly with outside the cast.
AA: I’m hoping you’re going to tell me you kept the red sweater but were you allowed to keep anything from set?
EC: No, I do not have the red sweater [laughs]. It was before I felt entitled to take things. I do have a script. I don’t know which episode it is, but I do I have a script that they, the cast, the crew and everyone I had interaction with signed — kind of like a yearbook.
I certainly have fond memories of playing foosball with other members of the crew, that table got worked, and some of them, I’ve never seen foosball played at that level. So that was pretty exciting.
AA: You mean they actually played on that foosball table? That is so cool! I do have to ask, you were on set when Jennifer was still married to Brad Pitt. What do you think about the world hoping for a reunion?
EC: To be honest, I don’t know. I’m not quite sure what’s happening, I don’t have any real feelings about it. But, I did meet Brad while shooting, and that was also another sweet memory and quite disarming. The dressing rooms lived up above the stages and there were two staircases on either side, and you could go up and get to the dressing rooms. I don’t remember when exactly it was, but he was visiting and I was coming up the stairs and he sort of poked his head out of Jennifer’s dressing rooms and came up and introduced himself to me by saying my name.
He said: “Hi Eddie, I’m Brad and I just wanted to say hello and Jennifer’s enjoying working with you.” It was probably a couple of episodes in and his mum and his sister were there and he said, “come in, I’d like to introduce you to my mother and sister.” So I walked in and met them. I mean, it was a really kind of charmed experience though, because I had no idea where I was.
AA: Speaking of being charmed, you’ve seriously been on some of my favourite TV shows. Charmed, Sex and the City, Felicity, CSI: NY. Why do you think you’ve had this incredible success and longevity? Apart from the fact you still look exactly as you did on Friends…
EC: Oh God bless you. [Laughs] I think some of it is that I had access, you know what I mean? I got lucky in some ways. I think some of it can be attributed to the drive I had, and the willingness to say yes to myself and having some support. It really does just seem like Providence, you know what I mean? It seems like I really had so little to do with it, you know, and I know that’s not true, but it’s true.
But there is an element of that, that I’m like allowing because I think when I was younger, I fought for the idea that I was going to do this and I knew I needed to do it because it felt super.
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