That scene indeed caught many a “Yellowstone” fan off guard when it aired. Turns out it caught Hauser off guard, too, with the actor admitting to Cowboys & Indians Magazine he initially had no idea how to play it. “I thought it was a bit wild that Rip would do something like that. But as I got into the scene and started doing it as the actor, I made it into this beautiful moment, which I think is what Taylor wanted.” Hauser further offered that deciphering Taylor Sheridan’s intent with the scene was difficult as the “Yellowstone” co-creator wasn’t on set the day he shot it, “And unfortunately, [Sheridan] wasn’t there at the time, so it was me just working with Stephen Kay, the director, and breaking down what it was that Taylor was trying to do there.”
Thankfully, Hauser found a way into the scene, balancing the grisly nature of the act with some much-needed emotional subtext, “I felt like the right motivation for me was to make it a very beautiful, kind of heartfelt moment between my mother and I. Versus the kind of goriness of digging up your mother who’s been buried for several years and looking at it in a very negative way. I looked at it more as a positive.” The infamous scene is undoubtedly still a bit unsettling, but thanks to Hauser’s richly nuanced work, it also resonates in an emotionally satisfying way that somehow even borders on sweet.