Cole Hauser has no idea why “Yellowstone” has finally become the sexy hot thing on TV. Along with most of heartland America, he has known that the grizzly and gamy cowboy show has been a good watch since its debut on Paramount Network in 2018.
The pandemic may have something to do with it. With sprawling Montana (and Utah) landscapes, outlandish outlaw behavior, pretty ponies, and perpetually-handsome Kevin Costner as its lead, “Yellowstone” has all the ingredients of a hit escapist show. Recognition has come in the form of ratings, with about 14 million total viewers tuning in to the Season 4 premiere of “Yellowstone,” and 15 million total viewers glued to their screens for its conclusion. And now, it has become an awards contender, with a Screen Actors Guild Award nod in the outstanding performance by an ensemble drama series category.
Hauser, who portrays Rip Wheeler, the bruiser and the fixer of the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch, is just pleased to be part of it all. “It feels like it is finally touching the edges of America. It seems like New York and LA are kind of paying attention, which is nice, for a lot of us to see that kind of acknowledgment,” he told Variety’s Awards Circuit podcast. Listen below:
“I’m just happy that Americans are talking about ‘Yellowstone’ and that they love this kind of show,” Hauser said. “Taylor [Sheridan] has done such a great job and there’s a tremendous cast. Along with Hauser and Costner, Luke Grimes, Kelly Reilly, Wes Bentley, Kelsey Asbille, Brecken Merrill, Jefferson White, Gil Birmingham, Forrie J. Smith, Denim Richards, Ian Bohen, Finn Little and Ryan Bingham star in “Yellowstone.” Sheridan co-created and executive produces the show, along with John Linson.
“The topography and the landscapes have definitely created some interest,” Hauser said, noting that people are moving to Montana in droves now. “But, ultimately I think it’s Taylor’s writing and the characters and the stories that hook the audiences.”
In terms of his character on the show, Hauser is glad that Rip is less of a “one-trick pony” type, and has been given more background and color— and, as of Season 4, a wife —since its inaugural season. Hauser spoke with Variety about all the ways in which he relates to Rip, and the ways he doesn’t (spoiler: Hauser would like to clarify that he, does not in fact kill people for a living as his “Yellowstone” counterpart may), as well as why Steven Spielberg once referred to him as “the last of the cowboys” on the set of the 90s police procedural drama “High Incident.”
Also on this episode, our Awards Circuit Roundtable shares burning questions on what to look out for as the Oscar nominations finally take place.
Variety’s Awards Circuit podcast is hosted by Clayton Davis, Michael Schneider, Jazz Tangcay and Jenelle Riley and is your one-stop listen for lively conversations about the best in movies. Michael Schneider is the producer and Drew Griffith edits. Each week, “Awards Circuit” features interviews with top talent and creatives; discussions and debates about awards races and industry headlines; and much, much more. Subscribe via Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify or anywhere you download podcasts. New episodes post every week.