Open main menu

Wikipedia β

Barkhad Abdi (Somali: Barkhad Cabdi) (born April 10, 1985) is a Somali-American actor and director. He made his debut in the film Captain Phillips (2013), for which he received various film award nominations, including an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

Barkhad Abdi
Barkhad Abdi at LFCC Awards.jpg
Abdi at the 2014 New York Film Festival
Born (1985-04-10) April 10, 1985 (age 32)
Mogadishu, Banaadir, Somali Democratic Republic
Residence Los Angeles, California, United States
Occupation Actor, director
Years active 2012–present


Early lifeEdit

Abdi was born in Mogadishu, Banaadir. Around the age of six or seven, when the Somali Civil War broke out, he and his family moved to Yemen to join his father, who had taken up teaching.[1][2] In 1999, Abdi and his family relocated to Minneapolis, Minnesota, where there is a large Somali community. He subsequently attended Minnesota State University Moorhead.[2] Before entering the film industry, Abdi sold mobile phones at his brother's shop at a mall in Minneapolis.[3] He also worked as a limousine driver at a relative's chauffeur company and as a DJ.[4][5]


Abdi made his debut in the 2013 film Captain Phillips. He played ship hijacker and pirate leader Abduwali Muse.[6][7] He was cast following a worldwide search for the lead roles. Abdi and three other actors were subsequently chosen from more than 700 participants at a 2011 casting call in Minneapolis. According to the casting director, the four were selected because they were "the chosen ones, that anointed group that stuck out".[8]

For his work, Abdi was nominated for the Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Supporting Actor, the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, and a Golden Globe Award. He won a BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actor.[9] Abdi's experience in Captain Phillips was his first in the film industry.[10] He was paid $65,000 for his role in the film.[11] After production finished, he returned to work at his brother's store.[12]

In January 2014, Abdi read scripts for a television show.[13] He landed a role in an episode of the series Hawaii Five-0, playing former warlord Roko Makoni.[14] Later that year, he began work on the comedy film Trainwreck, though he did not appear in the finished film.[15] He also appeared in the 2015 thriller Eye in the Sky, playing Jama Farah; and appeared in The Brothers Grimsby.[16] In 2016 Abdi played the lead role in A Stray, an independent film directed by Musa Syeed that was set in the Minneapolis Somali community.[17]

In October 2017, Abdi featured in Denis Villeneuve's Blade Runner 2049, in a minor role of a scientist. He shared one scene with Ryan Gosling, providing him information on where to go next.[18]

Abdi directed a film, Ciyaalka Xaafada, as well as several music videos.[2]


In 2013, Abdi began to serve as an Ambassador for Adeso, an NGO founded by the Somali environmentalist Fatima Jibrell.[19]

Personal lifeEdit

Abdi resides in Los Angeles, California.[20] The notable lump on his forehead came from a car accident he was in sometime prior to auditioning for Captain Phillips.[21]



Year Title Role Director Notes
2013 Captain Phillips Abduwali Muse Paul Greengrass
2015 Eye in the Sky Jama Farah Gavin Hood
2016 Grimsby Tabansi Nyagura Louis Leterrier
Extortion Miguel Kaba Phil Volken
2017 Good Time Dash Safdie Brothers
Blade Runner 2049 Doc Badger Denis Villeneuve
The Pirates of Somalia Abdi Bryan Buckley
2018 The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir Assefa Ken Scott Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
2015 Hawaii Five-0 Roko Makoni Episode: "E 'Imi pono"
2016 Family Guy Abduwali Muse Voice
Episode: "Road to India"

Awards and nominationsEdit


  1. ^ "Entertainment Pop". Jan 21, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c "Production Notes". The Walt Disney Company Nordic. Retrieved 19 October 2013. 
  3. ^ Goodyear, Dana (3 March 2014). "The Pictures - Contender". The New Yorker. Retrieved 6 March 2014. 
  4. ^ "Oscar nod for Minneapolis' Barkhad Abdi in 'Captain Phillips'". KARE. Archived from the original on 17 January 2014. Retrieved 16 March 2014. 
  5. ^ Bertram, Colin (12 January 2014). "2014 Golden Globes: Old Guard vs. New". NBC Bay Area. Retrieved 16 March 2014. 
  6. ^ Ryan, Mike. "I Can't Believe I'm Doing A Scene With The Forrest Gump Guy!". Huffington Post. 
  7. ^ "Somali-American Actor Stars in 'Captain Phillips' Movie". Voice of America. 11 October 2013. Retrieved 16 March 2014. 
  8. ^ Seavert, Lindsey (October 8, 2013). "4 Mpls. men co-star in Tom Hanks film 'Captain Phillips'". KARE. Gannett Company. Archived from the original on October 9, 2013. Retrieved October 8, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture". Golden Globe Awards. Archived from the original on 2014-02-03. 
  10. ^ Rottenberg, Josh. "Oscars 2014: Barkhad Abdi reacts to his Best Supporting Actor nomination". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 1 February 2014. 
  11. ^ ‘Captain Phillips’ Oscar Nominee Barkhad Abdi Is Broke Yahoo via
  12. ^ Covert, Colin (12 January 2014). "First-time Minneapolis actor Barkhad Abdi is in "state of shock" over his sudden fame". Star Tribune. Retrieved 16 March 2014. 
  13. ^ Heilbron, Alexandra (24 January 2014). "Captain Phillips Oscar nominee Barkhad Abdi talks about sudden fame". Tribute. Retrieved 25 January 2014. 
  14. ^ "HAWAII FIVE-0 Recap "E 'Imi pono"". Seat42F. Retrieved 11 March 2015. 
  15. ^ "Judd Apatow's 'Trainwreck' Casts Up: Tilda Swinton, Barkhad Abdi and John Cena Sign On". 2014-03-18. Retrieved 2014-05-21. 
  16. ^ Reilly, Travis (October 28, 2014). "'Breaking Bad' Star Aaron Paul Is a Conflicted Drone Pilot in 'Eye in the Sky'". TheWrap. Retrieved October 29, 2014. 
  17. ^ Syeed, Musa (2016-03-14), A Stray, Barkhad Abdirahman, Fathia Absie, Faysal Ahmed, retrieved 2018-01-05 
  18. ^ "'Blade Runner 2049': Barkhad Abdi Shares New Character Details". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2017-04-19. 
  19. ^ "Adeso Ambassador Barkhad Abdi appeals for Somali cyclone aid". Mareeg. 6 December 2013. Retrieved 14 December 2013. 
  20. ^ Lammers, Tim (5 March 2014). "Report: Fresh off Oscar nomination, Barkhad Abdi 'dead broke'". Bringmethenews. Retrieved 23 June 2014. 
  21. ^ Marsh, Steve (February 26, 2014). "Barkhad Abdi: A Pirate's Life". Mpls St. Paul Magazine. Retrieved February 13, 2018. 

External linksEdit