Kevin Costner Was Not the Only ‘Yellowstone’ Star That Creator Taylor Sheridan Knew He Needed — ‘He Didn’t Audition, I Wanted Him From Day One’


Taylor Sheridan’s Yellowstone has swiftly emerged as one of the television industry’s most triumphant franchises. While Kevin Costner’s portrayal of John Dutton has undoubtedly been instrumental in shaping the Western drama, the series thrives due to its exceptional ensemble cast.

When casting for Yellowstone, Sheridan had little doubt that Costner was the ideal choice to portray the patriarch of the Dutton family. However, Costner was not the sole Yellowstone star Sheridan recognized as essential to the show’s success.

Kevin Costner wasn’t the only ‘Yellowstone’ star Taylor Sheridan immediately pursued

In addition to Costner, Cole Hauser is another standout star who quickly won over the audience on Yellowstone. Despite being primarily known for his role in Dazed and Confused, Hauser’s casting as Rip Wheeler came as a delightful surprise to many.

However, for Sheridan, there was never a shadow of a doubt that Hauser was the perfect choice to portray the complex and tormented character. In an interview with Deadline, Sheridan disclosed that he didn’t even require Hauser to audition for the role that ultimately propelled him to household name status.

“I knew that’s who I wanted, from the beginning. He didn’t audition. I wanted him from day one,” Sheridan said of Hauser. “There were some things he had done that I saw, where there was an intensity and a clarity of what that character wanted. There is no subtext with the guy and that’s what I really liked.

According to Sheridan, Rip is a character who wears his emotions on his sleeve. There is no hidden subtext, and the showrunner intended for the audience to always know how Rip felt in any given moment.

This particular trait made Hauser an impeccable match for the role, even though it did require some persuasion to bring him on board.

The ‘Yellowstone’ creator saw loyalty and ruggedness in Cole Hauser’s previous roles and knew he could be Rip Wheeler

Sheridan also opened up about Hauser’s previous roles and how that influenced his casting decision for Yellowstone. This includes his parts in the films Pitch Black and Tears of the Sun.

Hauser played the role of a bounty hunter named William J. Johns in the science fiction horror, starring opposite Vin Diesel. In Tears of the Sun

, Hauser teamed up with Bruce Willis and director Antoine Fuqua to play a Navy specialist.

Despite the genre of these movies, Hauser’s portrayal of loyalty and ruggedness stood out to Sheridan. The Yellowstone creator found these qualities perfectly embodying Rip.

Sheridan’s impression of Hauser’s acting, particularly the nuanced expression of loyalty even in the face of disagreement, convinced him that Hauser was the right actor for the role of Rip. Without needing an audition, Sheridan was confident in his pick.

“Those stuck with me and there’s a Midwestern ruggedness to him where you immediately identify that, this is someone you don’t want to mess with. And with Rip, that needs to be clear from the outset,” Sheridan stated.

Taylor Sheridan sounded positive about working with Kevin Costner, long before the season 5 drama

Yellowstone, of course, would not be the same without Costner. Sheridan clearly made the right choice for the Dutton patriarch, and it is admittedly difficult imagining anyone else in that role.

In the Deadline interview, Sheridan was asked about the potential of giving even more responsibilities to Costner. In response, Sheridan revealed that he would love to have Costner direct an episode, though his duties in front of the camera are fairly demanding.

“I think it would be asking a lot of him, especially in the post schedule, to do both. But he’s welcome to and nothing would make me happier,” Sheridan explained.

There has been a lot of chatter about Sheridan’s relationship with Costner behind the scenes. But many of those rumors are starting to lose steam now that the series is concluding with the second half of season 5.

Sheridan has yet to announce when Yellowstone will return to Paramount. The series has suffered numerous delays this year, though season 5 is expected to resume sometime in the fall.


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