Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Why Rip Wheeler From Yellowstone Looks So Familiar

For three seasons, fans have followed the fictional lives of the Dutton clan as its members work and fight to keep the largest contiguous working ranch in America on Paramount Network's Yellowstone. There's family patriarch John Dutton, portrayed by veteran actor Kevin Costner, part of the sixth generation of the Dutton family to operate the Yellowstone-Dutton Ranch. Through flashbacks, viewers meet John's late wife Evelyn, played by Gretchen Mol, who was tragically killed in a horseback riding accident. And then, of course, there are John and Evelyn's children: eldest Lee, played by Dave Annable, is the head of security in a guest role; Jamie, portrayed by Wes Bentley, is a lawyer and aspiring political figure who clashes with his family; only daughter Beth, played by Kelly Reilly, an intelligent, manipulative, substance-abusing financier; and youngest son Kayce, portrayed by Luke Grimes, a former Navy SEAL who is married to a Native American woman, with whom he has a son.

But there's another series regular who, while not part of the Dutton clan biologically, is practically family. Rip Wheeler, the ranch foreman, is John's go-to guy and longtime employee, having worked the ranch since his wild youth when John took him in; he's also a recurring love interest for Beth. Rip is portrayed by actor Cole Hauser, who's someone you've probably seen before, whether or not you can place the face immediately. 

Here's why Rip Wheeler from Yellowstone looks so familiar.

Hauser played benny in the slacker classic Dazed and Confused

Actor Cole Hauser has a career that's been going on for nearly 30 years. After appearing in the memorable but commercially unsuccessful period sports drama School Ties as Jack Connors, Hauser appeared as Benny O'Donnell in Richard Linklater's classic coming-of-age period film, Dazed and Confused. The movie follows a group of hard partying Texas teenagers on the last day of school in 1976, with protagonist Randy "Pink" Floyd, played by Jason London, struggling with the pressure to sign a pledge not to do drugs, which would be mandatory for him to return to his role as captain of the football team. Hauser's Benny serves as Pink's friend and teammate, in addition to providing some of the pressure to sign the drug-free pledge, over which he eventually confronts Pink. 

Dazed and Confused was a box office failure, grossing only $8 million against a reported $6.9 million budget, according to The Numbers. Nevertheless, it remains a popular film with audiences and provided the world with Matthew McConaughey's memorable "Alright, alright, alright" line in his turn as Wooderson, an early 20s friend of Pink's who drives him to buy Aerosmith tickets the next day. The film featured an ensemble of up-and-coming actors, including Milla Jovovich, Rory Cochrane, Ben Affleck, Adam Goldberg, Renée Zellweger, Joey Lauren Adams, and Parker Posey. It also marked Hauser's second outing with Affleck, with the two having worked together on School Ties.

He played Billy in Good Will Hunting

Marking his third time working alongside Ben Affleck and his second with Matt Damon — who was also in School Ties — Cole Hauser appeared as Billy McBride in Gus Van Sant's Good Will Hunting, which Affleck and Damon co-wrote. The film follows Damon's title character Will as he navigates life as a rough-and-tumble 20-year-old self-taught genius who works as a janitor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and whose favorite pastimes include drinking beer with his friends, watching little league baseball, and getting into street fights. Hauser played Billy, one of WIll's friends and compatriots. Billy doesn't have a lot of speaking lines, but he plays an important supportive role and helps Will's other friends, Chucky (Affleck) and Morgan (Casey Affleck), tune up a junker car they bought to give him as a present for his 21st birthday. 

Good Will Hunting was a critical darling and enjoys an impressive 98% critics score on Rotten Tomatoes. Late actor Robin Williams also won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Will's Therapist, Sean Maguire. Good Will Hunting also netted Affleck and Damon both the Academy Award and Golden Globe for Best Screenplay. Interestingly, the film also marked the last time Hauser worked with either man.

Cole Hauser worked with Vin Diesel on Pitch Black

Cole Hauser has a penchant for helping to launch franchises or keep them going early on. His first role in this pattern was as the twisted bounty hunter William Johns in Pitch Black, opposite star Vin Diesel as notorious criminal Richard B. Riddick. Johns is a mercenary transporting Riddick on a spacecraft to get the bounty for his capture. When the ship crash lands on an alien planet, Riddick, Johns, and a host of other survivors must band together in order to survive the mysterious creatures that begin picking them off one by one. And they had better figure things out quickly, because, while the creatures are sensitive to light and typically shun the surface as a result of the planet's three suns, there's a period of utter gloom coming in the form of an eclipse that will blanket the planet in darkness and allow the creatures to roam freely. Johns —a morphine addict who's nowhere near the moral authority he pretends to be — and Riddick — the skilled killer who once stabbed Johns in the back, the injury that led to the merc's addiction — form an uneasy alliance; if Riddick helps the group survive the ordeal, he'll go free.

Pitch Black was not beloved by critics, with a 60% score on Rotten Tomatoes; despite that, it fared surprisingly well at the box office, raking in $53 million worldwide against a modest $23 million budget, according to The Numbers. It served as the jumping off point for director David Twohy's Riddick franchise, which was followed up in 2004's epic sequel, The Chronicles of Riddick, and the 2013 third installment, simply titled Riddick; as Johns died in the first film, Hauser was unable to reprise the role for the other films.

He played another villain in 2 Fast 2 Furious

Keeping up the bad-guy-in-one-installment-of-the-franchise energy, Cole Hauser appeared as criminal Carter Verone in 2003's 2 Fast 2 Furious, the second chapter of the massive Fast and Furious franchise. Despite his previous work with Vin Diesel, this entry in the film series didn't mark another collaboration between the two, as the first sequel to 2000's The Fast and the Furious did not feature Diesel's Dominic Toretto. Instead, the second film followed the further adventures of Paul Walker's Brian O'Conner, now a former cop who became a fugitive after letting Toretto go at the end of the first film. After O'Connor is captured and is offered a deal to help infiltrate the Verone organization, he brings along former friend-turned-rival Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson), whom he had previously busted while still a cop. Working with the United States Customs Service, O'Connor and Pearce attempt to help bring down Verone, a ruthless Argentinian drug lord.

Hauser made for an effective antagonist in the role of Carter Verone, though 2 Fast 2 Furious ranks among the worst received of the Fast and Furious franchise. According to Rotten Tomatoes, the first sequel has the second-lowest critics score among the nine films to date with a lowly 36%. That didn't prevent it from becoming a box office winner, of course, else the franchise would likely have died then and there. But 2 Fast 2 Furious grossed $236 million worldwide against a $76 million budget, according to The Numbers, and the franchise kept going strong.

He helped launch another franchise with Olympus Has Fallen

Though not playing a villain, Cole Hauser kept up his trend of helping to launch film franchises with his turn in 2013's Olympus Has Fallen. Director Antoine Fuqua's action thriller follows Mike Banning (Gerard Butler), the former chief of the Secret Service's presidential detail, who works for the Treasury Department after pulling President Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart) from the wreckage of a vehicle accident on a bridge but failing to save first lady Margaret Asher (Ashley Judd), who falls to her death. When North Korean terrorists attack the White House, execute the prime minister of Souther Korea, and take Asher hostage, Hauser's Agent Roma, the Secret Service Special Agent in Charge (SAC) relays the film's titular code words to Secret Service Director Lynne Jacobs (Angela Bassett) to signify that the White House has been breached.

Olympus Has Fallen was panned critically — the consensus on Rotten Tomatoes calls it "far from original" and it holds a 49% score, though reviewers had favorable opinions of Fuqua's directing and Butler's performance, "which might just be enough for action junkies." The film grossed $172 million worldwide against its reported $70 million budget, according to The Numbers, and spawned two sequels, 2016's London Has Fallen and 2019's Angel Has Fallen, both of which see Butler and Eckhart return in their respective roles. Sadly, Hauser was unable to reprise the role of Agent Roma, who was killed in the franchise's first installment.