Turns out Cole Hauser may not be so different from his character on Yellowstone after all – both Hauser and Rip Wheeler aren’t shy about using their fists when they need to.
On Yellowstone, Hauser’s character acts as the muscles on the Dutton Ranch. When there’s a potential beatdown brewing, Kevin Costner’s John Dutton knows he needs to have Rip by his side in case the situation gets a bit messy. And, of course, not only does Rip pack a mean punch, but he has the no-nonsense attitude to match. Really, this is a characteristic that Yellowstone director and writer Taylor Sheridan pulled from Cole Hauser in real life. In fact, Hauser can’t overexpress how many bar fights he’s been in over the years.
When asked if he’d ever been in bar fights, Hauser tells Belleville News-Democrat, “Does a bear sh– in the woods? I’ve probably been in one on every continent. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with fighting. Sometimes I’m just tired of words, so let’s beat the sh-t out of each other. Maybe at the end of it you’ll buy me a Guinness and I’ll buy you a Bushmills, and we’ll be done. It’s kind of what guys do.”
Rip Wheeler’s Fighting Spirit: Cole Hauser’s ‘Yellowstone’ Character Tumbles with a Biker Gang
Some might see Cole Hauser’s character on Yellowstone as a hothead, and while that’s not necessarily false, it’s also not a bad thing. The fact that Rip is swift to let his fists do the talking shows the fierceness behind the Dutton Ranch gates. That kind of action is exactly what John and his family need when they’re constantly battling outsiders that want to either take the property or hurt those on it.
Just take a look at this scene when the bunkhouse crew confronted the Divine Discord biker gang.
When Rip Wheeler and Lloyd step on the scene, those trespassers get what’s coming to them – quick. Even when one member brandishes a gun at the man in black’s chest, Rip doesn’t even flinch.
Actor Behind Rip Wheeler Is as Skilled a Rider as a Fighter
Outside of his real-life fighting experience, the other crucial component of creating Rip Wheeler’s persona on Yellowstone was becoming a skilled rider. While Cole Hauser was familiar with a saddle, he had never experienced anything like the extensive boot camp that Sheridan had set up for his actors. To make things even harder, Hauser actually broke his back falling off a horse while filming the movie The Last Champion.
“It was like the old saying, ‘F— it, you just gotta get back on the horse and do it,” he says. “My back was so bad I couldn’t move around very well, and so I lost strength in my stomach. What riding ended up doing is strengthening my back and my core.”
Through the pain, though, Hauser persevered and became the talented rider and fighter we know on the show today.