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Why Benny From Dazed And Confused Looks So Familiar

The cult classic stoner comedy "Dazed and Confused" didn't start out as much of a success, but has grown in popularity over the years — thanks, in part, to iconic lines like Matthew McConaughey's catchphrase, "Alright, alright, alright." "Dazed and Confused" featured different groups of high schoolers on their last day of class in 1976, and followed along on their hazing rituals, nighttime hangs, and the different ways the kids celebrated the start of summer while worrying about the future.

Several other big name stars had parts in "Dazed in Confused" when they were still relatively unknown. Aside from McConaughey, the film featured the likes of Jason London, Rory Cochrane, Ben Affleck, Milla Jovovich, Joey Lauren Adams, Parker Posey, Adam Goldberg, and Nicky Katt. One of the football players in "Dazed and Confused" was Benny O'Donnell, played by Cole Hauser, yet another actor who's gone on to appear in tons of projects. Here are some of the other places you've probably seen him.

Cole Hauser's film debut was with more future stars

Before he acted alongside the likes of Matthew McConaughey in "Dazed and Confused," Cole Hauser had a part in the 1992 drama "School Ties" that also featured several future film stars. Brendan Fraser played the lead role of David Greene, a Jewish teenager who gets a scholarship to play football at a prestigious Massachusetts prep school in the '50s. He soon realizes his popular teammates Rip Van Kelt (Randall Batinkoff), Charlie Dillon (Matt Damon), Jack Connors (Hauser), and Chris Reece (Chris O'Donnell) are prejudiced against Jewish people, so he spends the majority of the film dealing with his classmates' prejudice while trying to maintain his grades and survive his senior year. Ben Affleck and Anthony Rapp also had parts in "School Ties," adding to the already star-studded movie.

Hauser's role in the supporting cast was not the biggest, but it was a powerful addition to the group dynamics of the young men. His portrayal of a jock struggling with the choice to stick with his friends or stand up for what's right was touching, and a strong start to what would become a successful career.

He starred in Higher Learning

Following his success in the early '90s. Hauser landed a role in the 1995 John Singleton drama "Higher Learning," which followed the lives of three college freshmen and the various ways they struggled to fit in on campus. The film starred Malik Williams (Omar Epps) as a track star struggling with his grades, a shy student named Kristen Connor (Kristy Swanson), and the lonely outcast Remy (Michael Rapaport). As Remy became more isolated, he found friendship in Scott Moss (Hauser), the leader of the campus neo-Nazi skinhead group — which eventually led to horrible consequences.

Roger Ebert commented on both Hauser's and Rapaport's performances, which were equally convincing in their own way: "[Singleton] handles the subplot involving the neo-Nazis especially effectively; skinheads lend themselves to parody, but in Cole Hauser and Michael Rapaport, Singleton has cast two effective actors who bring a chilling plausibility to their roles. Rapaport plays a big, confused kid who looks like a rabbit caught in headlights, and Hauser, with his cynical charm and insinuating drawl, is like a snake-charmer."

He was in another Damon/Affleck flick

Cole Hauser continued working alongside Matt Damon and Ben Affleck and had a part in the award-winning film "Good Will Hunting" as Billy McBride, one of Will Hunting's (Damon) best friends. He can be seen in the group of close-knit pals as they hit local Boston bars and get into trouble, and his quiet demeanor helped to round out the group dynamic.

In real life, Hauser befriended Affleck and Damon during their years working together. In an interview with Queen Latifah, Hauser described how he met Affleck and Damon: "We did 'School Ties' together, which was like six months of us just hanging out. And then we [did] 'Dazed' — Ben and I, did together — and then 'Good Will Hunting.' So, we spent about a solid seven years basically insulting each other, yeah. It was great."

He also described how it felt to be part of "Good Will Hunting," telling AOL BUILD: "It was one of the most exciting and fun experiences. And to be able to see my friends, you know, win an Academy Award for something that we all gave our heart and soul to was pretty special."

And it seems like the trio are still on good terms; In 2014, Damon revealed to Interview Magazine that he was going to be rooming with Hauser for a bit, following a recent film shoot. Fingers crossed for another Damon-Affleck-Hauser collab in the future.

He's been in several action movies

It's likely you've seen Cole Hauser in one of the many action-packed films he's starred in. In 2000, he was in the sci-fi action horror film "Pitch Black" with Vin Diesel; he played James "Red" Atkins in the 2003 action drama "Tears of the Sun" alongside Bruce Willis and Monica Bellucci; he collaborated with director John Singleton again in "2 Fast 2 Furious" as bad guy Carter Verone; and he starred in the action films "Paparazzi" and "The Cave" in the mid-2000s.

Hauser spoke to Movie Habit about his tendency to appear in action films: "Most of the films I do are action-dramas. They're not really like one thing or the other. 'Fast and the Furious' — the part of it that's action, I'm not really part of. I'm part of the drama side. I'm playing this guy who pretty much runs Miami and runs drugs and money launders and stuff like that ... When you get to do an action film it's like you kinda get to go back to being that kid again, you get to play soldier, play cop, you know it's fun. Especially for me, I'm still young enough to do a lot of my own stunts. That's a fun part of being an actor."

He's part of the Yellowstone cast

Aside from acting in films, Hauser has been in several television shows over the years. He played Officer Randy Willitz in "High Incident," Steve Curtis in a few episodes of "ER," and Ethan Kelly in the police drama series "Rogue." Since 2018, Hauser has been part of the main cast of Paramount's "Yellowstone." The gritty drama follows the Dutton family, which owns the largest ranch in the United States. The Duttons deal with plenty of family drama, as well as outsiders who want a piece of their property. Hauser plays the role of Rip Wheeler, a ranch hand with extreme loyalty to the Dutton family that often means he'll do whatever they ask of him.

In an interview with Havok Journal, Hauser described the passion he feels for playing Rip: "I find myself getting so invested over the years in these characters. I find little ways to try to make them as human as possible. As well as make them multi-colored so they aren't a one trick pony. I really want the audience to go, wow man there is so many levels to that person. I mean, when I'm in it I'm in it. Rip Wheeler is my passion and my love."