Cole HauserYellowstone

Yellowstone’s Creator Talks About Why He Chose Cole Hauser For His Show

Taylor Sheridan and John Linson’s “Yellowstone” premiered on the Paramount Network in June of 2018, introducing viewers to the Dutton family and all of the tribulations they have to endure as the owners of the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch. Fast forward a mere four years, and “Yellowstone” has spawned a small screen franchise that will soon include four total programs. Clearly, audiences responded well to the initial series, but what about it resulted in it becoming nothing short of a television sensation? Well, for one, it’s incredibly easy to get invested in the characters and their drama-filled lives.

Throughout its so-far four seasons, “Yellowstone” has done an excellent job of fleshing out most of the Dutton family members and establishing intriguing dynamics between them. Kevin Costner’s John Dutton leads the series, accompanied by his biological kids, Kayce (Luke Grimes) and Beth (Kelly Reilly), as well as his adopted son, Jamie (Wes Bentley). Rip Wheeler (Cole Hauser) — one of John’s closest confidantes and Beth’s husband with an extremely troubled past — also features prominently on the program and is ever-ready to help the Duttons out no matter the request.

Much of what has made Rip Wheeler such an engaging character boils down to Cole Hauser’s performance in the role. As it turns out, Taylor Sheridan knew he’d be a perfect fit for the part long before cameras started rolling. Here’s why.

Taylor Sheridan knew Hauser could pull off Rip Wheeler’s direct, no-nonsense attitude

In August of 2019, Taylor Sheridan sat down with Deadline for an interview about all things “Yellowstone.” During the chat, he touched on what he wanted out of the Rip Wheeler character and revealed that, in his mind, Cole Hauser was the only person for the job. “He didn’t audition. I wanted him from day one. There were some things he had done that I saw, where there was an intensity and a clarity of what that character wanted,” Sheridan said, explaining that Hauser’s ability to play no-nonsense characters drew him in.

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Continuing on, Sheridan notes that Hauser’s performances in the likes of 2000’s “Pitch Black” and 2003’s “Tears of the Sun” stand out to him as especially important. Hauser’s expressions of loyalty and duty in such projects alerted the “Yellowstone” co-creator to how well he could do as Rip Wheeler on his show. “There’s a Midwestern ruggedness to him where you immediately identify that this is someone you don’t want to mess with. And with Rip, that needs to be clear from the outset,” Sheridan concludes.

“Yellowstone” has become a TV staple in the past few years, and Cole Hauser’s work as Rip Wheeler is a big part of that success. One can only hope that we’ll get to see a lot more out of him in Season 5 and beyond.

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