Yellowstone has become so popular that fans want to know every little detail that they can squeeze out of actors and producers. The show has completely captured the hearts and minds of an American audience looking for a slice of nostalgia and an escape from the mundane.
Of course, Taylor Sheridan’s hit drama delivers in spades. The brilliant mix of family drama, legacy building, melodrama, and criminality has transcended the underground audience and has gone mainstream. And with any popular show or movie, the end result came about with a bit of luck as well as skill.
Cultural icons like this need good writing, setting, and story. They also need to cast the characters correctly, which can be tricky, especially when talented actors can theoretically play very different roles within the show.
But when the show becomes a cultural icon? Then, audiences love to know how their favorite characters came to fruition — from casting, to development, to ‘what ifs.’
Cole Hauser, the actor who plays adopted Dutton son and ruthless protector of the dynasty, recently revealed that he wasn’t always in line to play Rip Wheeler.
“I think, initially, the idea was to maybe play one of Kevin’s sons,” Hauser shared on the podcast Bingeworthy. “As I was reading the script, this character of Rip kept popping up. And I’m thinking, ‘No. This is the guy.’ There’s something really loyal and beautiful about him. He’s a throwback character, which I don’t think we’ve seen in a very long time. He’s got obviously a pretty insane intensity to him and, you know, the things he does.”
Yellowstone began as an actor’s refusal to quit the entertainment business
Hauser’s turn as Rip Wheeler (and his near-turn as a Dutton, instead) is a great nugget of fan trivia; but the most interesting ‘what if’ the show is the origin tale of creator Sheridan, himself. After all, if Sheridan never conceived the hit show as a writer and producer, then every bit of fan trivia never would have happened in the first place.
Most hardcore Yellowstone fans probably know that Sheridan began as a character actor. He played a number of small bit parts over the years. Most notably, he played Deputy David Hale on Sons of Anarchy for 21 episodes. And while he was surviving, he wasn’t thriving, so he decided to make a change and try writing, instead.
Sheridan said that Hollywood told him he wasn’t “leading man” material. However, they couldn’t stop him from writing incredible stories. Like most success stories in Hollywood, he credits “stubbornness” as his secret to finally “making it” in one of the world’s toughest businesses.
“I think stubbornness, a refusal to fail. An interesting thing about Hollywood is, if you let it, and if you listen, it will tell you exactly what you’re supposed to be doing,” he revealed. “I said, look, I have no idea how to do this, but I have a 15-year education on how not to do it. First thing that I wrote was ‘Mayor of Kingstown.’ And when I was done I said, man I wish I had done this 15 years ago.”