Best Cole Hauser Movie and TV Performances
Few actors have inhabited film or television roles like Cole Hauser, who plays Rip Wheeler on the hit television series "Yellowstone." With a talented cast that includes Kevin Costner, Kelly Reilly, Luke Grimes and Wes Bentley, the sprawling drama has become one of the most popular shows on cable television since premiering in 2018.
What you might not know is that Hauser's roots go back to the beginnings of Hollywood. He is the son of veteran TV and film actor Wings Hauser, the grandson of Academy Award-winning screenwriter Dwight Hauser and the great-grandson of Harry Warner, one of the Warner Bros. founders.
While "Yellowstone" might be Cole Hauser's greatest role, his career started in 1992 and includes an Academy Award-winning film, one of the greatest comedies of all time and a string of surprise hits that have combined to make over $1.6 billion at the box office.
These are the best Cole Hauser movie and TV performances — and how much money they made.
Warning: There are spoilers.
15. Hart's War
Release date: Feb. 15, 2002
Role: Staff Sergeant Vic Bedford
Budget: $70 million
Box office: $33 million
Bottom line: "Hart's War" was a big-budget, box-office bomb that landed mostly on the shoulders of its two stars, Bruce Willis and Colin Farrell, but Cole Hauser played a supporting role that was dead-center in a string of "bad guy" roles for him.
In "Hart's War," he played a racist U.S. prisoner of war in a Nazi war camp during World War II, a character who is central to the film's plot.
Although "Hart's War" didn't do much for Hauser's career, it's a good example of a recurring theme in his career — repeat collaborations. He teamed with Willis again in "A Good Day to Die Hard" and "Tears of the Sun," and he was starred with Farrell in "Tigerland" in 2000.
Release date: Sept. 3, 2004
Role: Bo Laramie
Budget: $20 million
Box office: $16 million
Bottom line: "Paparazzi" represents one of the few times Cole Hauser was given the actual lead in a film or TV project. He plays an action movie star seeking revenge on a group of paparazzi photographers who have injured his family in a car accident.
"Paparazzi" isn't a good movie, but getting to see Hauser take the lead, for once, is worth the effort it takes to sit through it.
Also, there's some big-time cameos — Chris Rock, Matthew McConaughey and producer Mel Gibson all make appearances — and the movie has been largely derided as being Gibson's fantasy about murdering paparazzi.
13. Tears of the Sun
Release date/years: March 7, 2003
Role: U.S. Navy Seal James "Red" Atkins
Budget: $100.5 million
Box office: $86.5 million
Bottom line: This is one of four collaborations between Hollywood legend Bruce Willis and Cole Hauser. The two first teamed in "Hart's War" in 2002 and were in a direct-to-streaming movie called "Acts of Violence" as recently as 2018.
None of their movies together had close to the budget of "Tears of the Sun," which was the follow-up to "Training Day" for director Antoine Fuqua. Made for just over $100 million, "Tears" was a spectacular Hollywood flop, falling over $20 million short of its budget at the box office.
That being said, it's a pretty decent action movie and gave Hauser a shot at being one of the main leads behind Willis and holding up pretty well. News flash: Hauser is great in action movies.
12. The Lizzie Borden Chronicles
Release date: April 5-May 24, 2015 (Lifetime)
Role: Detective Charlie Siringo
Bottom line: We love when actors try something different. That's what Cole Hauser did here in the limited series "The Lizzie Borden Chronicles."
He played famed Pinkerton detective Charlie Siringo in a fictionalized version of the events of Lizzie Borden's life after the murder of her parents.
Making a limited series is a pretty popular move now for networks. "Lizzie Borden" was ahead of its time when it came out in 2015 and is pretty entertaining.
11. The Family That Preys
Release date/years: Sept. 12, 2008
Role: William Cartwright
Budget: $15 million-20 million (estimate)
Box office: $37.1 million
Bottom line: Director Tyler Perry must have been following Cole Hauser's career fairly closely in the early 2000s. He cast him as the bad guy in his 2008 film "The Family That Preys," which was right around when Hauser was starting to get away from more villainous roles.
"The Family That Preys" is pretty entertaining, especially when you look at Perry's pantheon of work. It's not a far stretch to say, had this been made 10 years later, it would have probably ended up as a series on Netflix or another streaming service.
Release date: Sept. 17-Dec. 17, 2007 (Fox)
Role: Trevor Cobb
Bottom line: "K-Ville" was a victim of a Hollywood writer's strike more than anything else. We really enjoyed the pairing of Cole Hauser and Anthony Anderson as hard-boiled New Orleans police officers.
But the hourlong drama only got 11 of its 13 episodes filmed before the writer's strike and never returned to the Fox lineup afterward. It had a great pedigree because aside from Hauser and Anderson, both proven talents, it was created by a former writer for "NYPD Blue" and "The District" named Jonathan Lisco.
9. Pitch Black
Release date: Feb. 18, 2000
Role: William J. Johns
Budget: $23 million
Box office: $53.2 million
Bottom line: Released in what's typically known as the time studios dump films they don't think will be profitable — January and February — "Pitch Black" starred Vin Diesel as antihero Riddick alongside Cole Hauser and was a surprise hit that spawned a pair of sequels for the main character.
This was deep in the "bad guy" phase of Hauser's career, and he's very good at it. In "Pitch Black," he plays a sadistic, revenge-driven bounty hunter in a feud to the death with Riddick.
8. Olympus Has Fallen
Release date: March 22, 2013
Role: Secret Service Agent Roma
Budget: $70 million
Box office: $170.3 million
Bottom line: One thing we really love is when you actually hear the title of a movie at some point in the movie. It's the little things, you know?
While Cole Hauser doesn't have a very big role in "Olympus Has Fallen," he once again showed he knows how to pick a winner. It was another surprise hit, making almost $200 million at the box office, and winning the battle with "White House Down" for the better of the two movies about the White House being under attack that came out at the same time.
Hauser gets a pretty elite death scene in this movie as a heroic Secret Service agent and, you guessed it, gets to utter the line "Olympus has fallen," before his last breath.
7. 2 Fast 2 Furious
Release date/years: June 6, 2003
Role: Carter Verone
Budget: $76 million
Box office: $234 million
Bottom line: Cole Hauser does campy and cheesy with the best of them when he has to. And no action movie in the last 20 years has probably been more cheesy or campy than "2 Fast 2 Furious."
Hauser plays over-the-top bad guy Carter Verone opposite lead actor Paul Walker for director John Singleton, two big-time talents who died in the years since this movie was made.
"2 Fast 2 Furious" was a massive hit for all involved, and Hauser probably didn't get enough credit for his performance. We're especially fond of the scene where he busts Roman, the character played by Tyrese Gibson, for trying to swipe a cigar cutter from his house.
Release date/years: Oct. 6, 2000
Role: Staff Sergeant Cota
Budget: $100,000 (estimate)
Box office: $148,000
Bottom line: Cole Hauser's role in Vietnam-era war film "Tigerland" remains the only time he's been recognized for an individual role.
He was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Actor in 2001, following in the footsteps of his father, actor Wings Hauser, who was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in "Tough Guys Don't Dance" in 1987.
"Tigerland" was remarkable for several reasons. It was a small-budget film for big-budget director Joel Schumacher, and it was the breakout role for star Colin Farrell.
5. The Cave
Release date/years: Aug. 26, 2006
Role: Jack McAllister
Budget: $30 million
Box office: $33.3 million
Bottom line: We could really care less what Rotten Tomatoes or anybody else has to say — "The Cave" is dope. And it's got Hauser in one of the few distinctly lead roles of his career, where he's paired opposite a talented cast, including Morris Chestnut, Lena Headey, Piper Perabo and Eddie Cibrian.
Here's the elevator pitch: A group of scientists and thrill-seeking adventurers are hired to explore an abandoned series of caves in the Carpathian Mountains and encounter hellish creatures from another dimension. OK, we're in.
4. Dazed and Confused
Release date/years: Sept. 24, 1993
Role: Benny O'Donnell
Budget: $6.9 million
Box office: $8 million
Bottom line: It's tough to put into words the love we have for director Richard Linklater's "Dazed and Confused" — a coming-of-age comedy about the last day of school in 1977 in Austin, Texas.
If you want to understand the rest of Cole Hauser's career, look at this film, where he plays beer-swilling football player Benny O'Donnell. It's here where Hauser showed he could hold his own alongside big-time talents, all getting their breaks at the same time, with future Academy Award winners Matthew McConaughey and Ben Affleck starring alongside him in supporting roles.
It's good to have friends. Especially ones who become the biggest stars in Hollywood.
3. Higher Learning
Release date: Jan. 11, 1995
Role: Scott Moss
Budget: $20 million
Box office: $38.3 million
Bottom line: You'll get chills when Cole Hauser comes onscreen as a neo-Nazi in director John Singleton's college drama "Higher Learning." Hauser's character recruits college student Remy, played by Michael Rapaport, into the fold. Hauser is, to put it lightly, terrifying.
This was the first of two collaborations between Hauser and Singleton, who died in 2019. The Academy Award-nominated director called on Hauser to play the villain again in the box-office smash hit "2 Fast 2 Furious" in 2003.
2. Good Will Hunting
Release date/years: Dec. 2, 1997
Role: Bill McBride
Budget: $10 million
Box office: $255 million
Bottom line: Remember, it's good to have friends. Cole Hauser's bond with Ben Affleck, made during the filming of "Dazed and Confused," paid off in a big way in 1997. That's when Hauser landed a supporting role opposite Affleck and Matt Damon in the Oscar-winning film "Good Will Hunting" — arguably one of the greatest films of all time.
Even for a supporting role, Hauser stands out as part of the close-knit group of friends in South Boston that included future Academy Award Best Actor winner Casey Affleck.
"Good Will Hunting" received nine Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director, and won Academy Awards for Robin Williams for Best Supporting Actor and for Damon and Affleck for Best Original Screenplay.
This is the moment that propelled Hauser's career forward the most.
Release date/years: 2018-present (Paramount Network)
Role: Rip Wheeler
Bottom line: If you want to know the role that's defined Cole Hauser's career, this is it.
His turn as adopted ranch hand turned Yellowstone/Dutton family ranch foreman Rip Wheeler has brought him to as many fans as all of his previous works combined. It's been one of the most popular show on television since the end of "Game of Thrones" in 2019 and is currently the most-watched show on cable television.
The show uses Hauser's best asset as an actor — being part of an ensemble — to its advantage at all times. His chemistry with Kevin Costner and Wheeler's love interest, Kelly Reilly as Costner's daughter, Beth Dutton, particularly stand out.
There are so many memorable scenes with Hauser in the show so far it's hard to pick just one. But we'll take when he comes to save Reilly from a pair of hitmen as our No. 1 "wow" moment.