Cole Hauser interview: ‘Yellowstone’

“He’s like nobody I’ve ever played in my life as an actor or even met on this planet,” declares Cole Hauser about portraying the tough-as-nails rancher with a heart of gold Rip Wheeler on “Yellowstone.” For our recent webchat he adds, “I’ve met some extraordinary people, I’ve been taught by some extraordinary people through acting, whether they’re soldiers or cowboys or pilots or astronauts, I mean the list goes on and on and on. But he’s like nobody I’ve ever met,” referring specifically to how Rip’s tough and guarded exterior often belies a gentler soul underneath, which the actor says is an interesting contrast between “the death and destruction that sometimes he can create and also the love that he has for the family.” Watch our exclusive video interview above.

“Yellowstone” is the number 1 show on TV, with the Paramount Network drama breaking records and shattering hearts last season. While the series’ superb fourth season basks in widespread praise, cast and crew are back in production for its highly anticipated fifth season, which will debut on November 13. The neo-Western was created by Oscar nominee Taylor Sheridan (“Hell or High Water”) about a powerful Montana ranching family under constant threat as the vast, gorgeously rendered Montana landscapes belie the harsh, violent world that the Duttons operate within. Oscar, Emmy and SAG Award winner Kevin Costner (“Dances With Wolves,” “Hatfields & McCoys”) stars as family patriarch John Dutton, alongside Kelly Reilly as the ruthless Beth and her TV siblings Luke Grimes as favorite son Kaycee and Wes Bentley as black sheep Jamie, with Hauser portraying the Duttons’ honorary adopted son and Beth’s devoted lover Rip.

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The epic saga’s fourth season premiere was watched by a staggering 8.38 million live viewers, breaking ratings records as cable’s most watched episode of any series since 2018. Just like its viewership, the critical response to the show has also built steadily over the years, with its fourth season garnering an impressive 86% “fresh” rating at Rotten Tomatoes, claiming nominations so far this year from the producers guild, art directors guild, the Cinema Audio Society (where it won for sound mixing) and a SAG Award nomination for Best Drama Ensemble.

“He’s got a lot of different colors and I think obviously Taylor and I over the course of four seasons have really worked hard on making sure that he’s somebody that each year is either growing or you’re seeing further into, whether it’s the love he has for Beth, or the loyalty he has for John, or the leadership that he has for the bunkhouse,” Hauser reveals. “There’s a lot of different levels to him and Taylor and I have really dug deep, both him as a writer and me as an actor, to create a very well-rounded and entertaining character,” he says. “I feel like Kelly allows me to play just this beautiful honesty and love for her. The way he looks at her the way that he treats her, I mean it’s such a juxtaposition to how he treats the bunkhouse or anybody else for that matter, other than really John. He’s not a puppy dog, but there’s a softer side; you get to see into his heart,” the actor explains, admitting that “there’s those beautiful moments that I love when you really get to know who he really is and what really matters, and it’s not money and power and all those things that most people care about. It’s being able to call a place home.”

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UPLOADED Jun 16, 2022 12:30 pm