It was the terrifying moment in the film Captain Phillips when a vicious band of Somali pirates takes over the ship at gunpoint. The scene is gripping because of the acting talents of not only Tom Hanks, but also from a newcomer named Barkhad Abdi. In fact, it is his very first acting role.
Abdi was actually born in Somalia and came to the U.S. when he was 14. He says he learned English from listening to Jay Z’s music and watching of all things—Seinfeld!
He grew up in Minneapolis. After high school he worked at a Target store and he was paying the bills driving a limo when he heard about auditions for Captain Phillips.
INSIDE EDITION’s Jim Moret asked him, “Why did you decide to become an actor?”
He said, “To me, it was like, I have to try it.”
Watch More of Abdi's Interview
Now, he's gone from driving a limo to riding in one to this weekend's Golden Globes where he is nominated for his first acting job. Actress Olivia Wilde announced the nomination last month.
Moret said, “You were the first name she mentioned, I saw your face and went, ‘Whoa.”
The scene where he seizes the ship was the first time he and Tom Hanks, who plays Captain Phillips, actually met.
Moret asked, “When you saw Tom Hanks what was the first thing that you thought?”
Abdi said, “I was like, ‘I can't believe I’m doing a scene with the Forrest Gump guy!’”
The director put chemicals in Abdi’s eyes to make him look like a drug crazed pirate.
Hanks told INSIDE EDITION, for a first timer, Abdi was a pro. He said, “Without a doubt, he knew what he was doing as an actor.”
Now, Abdi is living the American dream. He is still getting used to being a real life movie star.
Moret joked and asked, “How many women have called you since your nomination?”
Abdi laughed and said, “Not that many.”