After making his film debut alongside a cast of future stars, Cole Hauser made his own mark as a TV and indie film actor in the 1990s. Raised in Santa Barbara, Hauser got hooked on acting in junior high. Shortly after he moved to Los Angeles at age 15 to pursue his chosen career, Hauser was cast in the prep school anti-Semitism drama School Ties (1992) along with up-and-comers Brendan Fraser, Chris O'Donnell, Matt Damon, and Ben Affleck. After this auspicious beginning, Hauser became part of an equally noteworthy ensemble of young stars-to-be in Richard Linklater's Dazed and Confused (1993), appeared in the NBC TV movie A Matter of Justice (1993), played a skinhead in John Singleton's college drama Higher Learning (1995), and starred as an abusive boyfriend in All Over Me (1997). Hauser was cast in the lead role in the ABC series High Incident in 1996, but the show lasted only two seasons. Following a supporting role as one of Damon and Affleck's Boston cronies in their breakthrough hit Good Will Hunting (1997), Hauser played a small part in Stephen Frears' little seen modern Western The Hi-Lo Country (1998) and scored a hit as one of the marooned travelers battling mutant aliens in the sci-fi sleeper Pitch Black (2000).
After reuniting with his Tigerland (2000) co-star Colin Farrell in the box office failure Hart's War (2002), Hauser gained more notice for his supporting role later that year in the women's melodrama White Oleander (2002). Though he only appeared in a few scenes, Hauser's kindly and sexy young foster dad Ray easily caught the eye of the audience as well as troubled foster teen Alison Lohman. Returning to more testosterone-friendly work, Hauser subsequently co-starred with Hart's War officer Bruce Willis in Antoine Fuqua's action thriller Man of War (2003), and got behind the nitro-charged wheel for the sequel The Fast and the Furious 2 (2003). He continued to work in little-seen fare like Paparazzi and The Cave, but did score a part as one of Vince Vaughn's brothers in the aptly titled comedy The Break-Up. Over the next several years, Hauser would remain active on screen, appearing in films like The Cave, The Break-Up, and The FAmily That Prays, as well as on TV series like K-Ville and Chase. Hauser's father is actor Wings Hauser.