Somali-American actor Barkhad Abdi portrayed a hostile pirate leader in the Oscar-nominated film Captain Phillips, but when it came down to the compensation for the first time actor, Abdi says his bank account does not resemble finding any buried treasure.
The 28-year-old actor is currently nominated for Best Supporting Actor in this year’s Oscars for his role as Abduwali Muse, whose character is based on the 2009 Maersk Alabama hijacking. But a win would much-needed for Abdi, who said he went to work after the film’s completion, as he only made pennies on the $217.5M the movie grossed worldwide.
Abdi has been widely praised for his role in “Captain Phillips” as the desperate pirate Muse, and even ad-libbed the film’s signature line: “I’m the captain now.” But a New Yorker profile reveals that he earned $65,000 for his performance in the $55 million film — more than two years ago. Now he finds himself struggling.
When Abdi is in Los Angeles to promote the film, Goodyear reports, he subsists on a per diem he can use at the Beverly Hilton, where the studio puts him up. A town car is available to the former limo driver, but only for official publicity events. He wears borrowed clothes.
Abdi recently asked if he could stay at a hotel near LAX, to be closer to a friend, a Somali cabdriver from Minneapolis, who will drive him places for free. Abdi himself formerly drove a town car for his brother’s limousine company.
The Somalian transplant also says he’s looking to move to Los Angeles to stay with one of the film’s actors following the Oscars.