"I'm the Captain now" says Barkhad's improvised catchphrase as he points a gun to Hank's head in the 2013 film Captain Philips. From never having acted a day in his life to Hollywood's red carpet, no one would have guessed Somali refugee Barkhad Abdi would be where he is today.
Barkhad was raised with his family in Yemen where he lived to the age of 14 before immigrating to Minneapolis US.
The aspiring actor attended Minnesota State University and worked as a limousine driver and a DJ in Minnesota before his cinematic debut in the 2013 Action Thriller Captain Phillips. In the film Barkhad can be seen portraying Muse, the leader of the Somali pirates.
Barkhad recieved nominations from Sceen Actors Guild, Academy Award, Golden Globe, and won the BAFTA Award - all for Best Supporting Actor.
"it's exciting but quite surreal", says the actor about his rise to fame. He auditioned together with his three close friends, whom all got parts as Somali pirates. Being completely new to acting, they had a lot of learning to do before filming, which included: how to use weapons, how to ride a skiff, how to do the fight scenes, and most importanly, learning how to swim.
After numerous media appearances following his nominations, the 28-year-old has now made plans to make the move to the industry's capital, Los Angeles.