Paramount Network’s neo-Western show, Yellowstone, is filled with characters as tough and unrelenting as the Montana landscape they call home. But none is more resilient (and more likely to rescue you at a moment’s notice) than lead ranch hand Rip Wheeler, brought to life by veteran actor Cole Hauser. A quiet but deadly force, Wheeler found his way to the Dutton family after killing his own abusive father in self-defense, and consequently considers patriarch John Dutton to be a surrogate father. He is the epitome of loyalty to those he considers family, but when he’s not out protecting the much-warred-for Dutton ranch, he is something of a loner.
Though Hauser harbors “a ton of respect for these cowboys” (per Decider), he is quite different from Wheeler’s strong-but-silent type IRL. In fact, the actor is happily married with three kids, and counts A-listers like Ben Affleck and Matt Damon among his most long-lasting friendships. So, how did the on-screen cowboy become such good friends with one of Hollywood’s most iconic duos?
Cole Hauser starred in 'Good Will Hunting' with Ben Affleck and Matt Damon
Cole Hauser — whose father is legendary actor-filmmaker “Wings” Hauser, and whose mother is Cass Warner of the Warner Bros. family (per Outsider) — is essentially Hollywood royalty. But rather than relying on his family ties to further his career, Cole was determined to carve his own path in the industry.
This meant starting small, with supporting roles in ’90s college flicks like The Prom, Dazed and Confused, and School Ties (via IMDb), the latter of which introduced him to then-newbie actors, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. Cole clearly hit it off with Affleck and Damon on School Ties, because he later opted to sign on to the pair’s 1997 feature film, Good Will Hunting, as Billy McBride, a friend of Damon’s character.
As any movie buff will know, Good Will Hunting netted Affleck and Damon meteoric success and launched the careers of pretty much everyone involved in the project. Not only did the film establish Cole as a bonafide star, but it also laid the groundwork for an enduring friendship with Damon and Affleck. More than a decade after Good Will Hunting premiered, the trio has remained close, or at least, close enough to crash at each other’s pads in between films. Whether the three friends will grace our screens in a film together in the near future is anyone’s guess.
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