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Barkhad Abdi: This ‘Captain Philips’ Oscar Nominee is Broke

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Image via Sony Pictures

When someone is nominated for an Oscar, you may assume that they are at least doing okay financially. This is not the case for Barkhad Abdi, who played the pirate captain Muse in “Captain Philips.” According the New Yorker, Abdi is going through financial struggles and is having trouble supporting himself.

“When Abdi is in Los Angeles to promote the film, he subsists on a per diem, good at the Beverly Hilton, where the studio likes to put him up. The town car is available only for official publicity events. His clothes are loaners,” reads the article. “Recently Abdi requested that he be allowed to stay at a commuter hotel near LAX to be closer to his friend, a Somali cabdriver from Minneapolis, who shuttles him around for free.”

Abdi was working as a limousine driver when he saw the casting call on TV saying they were looking for Somalians to play roles in an upcoming Tom Hanks Movie. Although he barely had any acting experience, he auditioned anyways and to his surprise, got the role as the main antagonist of the film. He was payed $65,000 for his part in the $55 million film. While this is more than what the average American makes annually, the payout was more than two years ago. Abdi’s earnings were pretty much the SAG minimum, which is the same amount that fellow Oscar Nominee Jonah Hill took for his role in the “Wolf of Wall Street.”

The 28-year-old actor hasn’t landed any major roles since then. After filming ended, he worked at his brothers mobile phone store in Minneapolis, but decided to quit when the film premiered.

“How I thought about it was, like, When the movie came out, reviews either gonna be good or bad,” he told the New Yorker’s Dana Goodyear. “Either way, I cannot be working here.”

Abdi came from humble beginnings in Somalia where he had to flee the country at seven-years-old with his family when war broke out in the count.ry

The actor recently won Best Supporting Actor at the BAFTA Awards, which is essentially the British equivalent of the Oscars. He is currently reading scripts for his next role in a TV series.

Source: The New Yorker via The Wrap

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