‘Yellowstone’: Cole Hauser Reveals How Rip’s Backstory Mirrors His Own Upbringing

by Alex Falls

The upcoming fifth season of Yellowstone is a highly-anticipated TV event. The premiere is still two months away, but fans are clamoring to see more of the Duttons. The show from the mind of Taylor Sheridan is a major hit with audiences. But the stars in front of the camera are just as thrilled by the drama of Yellowstone.

Cole Hauser stars as the Dutton Ranch foreman, Rip Wheeler. The actor recently sat down with Cigar and Spirits to talk about the experience of stepping into the shoes of this character. Hauser said he actually has quite a bit in common with his on-screen persona. He and Sheridan pulled from Hauser’s life to help bring Rip Wheeler to life himself.

“His backstory has been one that’s been worked on between Taylor and I,” Hauser said. “Taylor’s imagination and some of my past with my own family and my own father. Taylor has become a really good friend, and he knows a lot about my family and what I’ve gone through. He hasn’t used all of it, but he has used some of it to trigger certain things in me as an actor and also in Rip. Taylor’s done a wonderful job of exploring who Rip is, what gets him going, the blackness in his heart, the red that’s still there. It’s been fun to be able to play those different colors throughout the years.”

Cole Hauser Immediately Recognized Rip Wheeler in ‘Yellowstone’

Hauser actually grew up in a movie-making family. He’s the great-grandson of Harry Warner who co-founded Warner Bros. Entertainment in 1923. Hauser’s career includes dozens of films and TV shows, but Yellowstone is where he found his voice. Hauser described how everything perfectly fell into place for him to take this character on.

“I read the script and immediately was drawn to Rip,” Hauser said. “I just thought he’s a guy that over time can grow into an exceptional character. Taylor is such a great writer that I thought, ‘I’ll get to know him and he’ll get to know me, and we’ll get along. He’s a horse guy. I’m a horse guy.’ I have a lot of friends down in Texas. And just talking to Taylor for two hours on the phone, we saw eye to eye. Again, I saw the future of him, I guess.”

Yellowstone has captured the imaginations of viewers all over. Fans are excited to see the next chapter in the dramatic take of the Duttons. Hauser is just as excited to explore Rip Wheeler as fans are to see it.

“I’m excited any time that I get to go do this show. I love Montana. I have family in Montana. My dad’s side of the family’s been there since the 1800s, so I feel at home there, and I get to be in nature,” Hauser said. “It’s the best office in the world.”