Oscar nominee Barkhad Abdi is broke, he only made $65K for ‘Captain Phillips’


In the lead-up to the Oscars, THR did a nice five-years-later story package on the child actors who were cast in Slumdog Millionaire, and how these kids (most of them living in abject poverty before the film) were being helped by the trust set up by Danny Boyle after the success of the film. Boyle’s trust pays for the kids’ education and helped lift some of their families out of poverty. The point was that when the film was successful, the director and producers felt an obligation to “give back” to the young performers who made it possible. I was reminded of that story when I read this article about Barkhad Abdi, the Somali refugee who got an Oscar nomination for his first-ever movie, Captain Phillips. Apparently, Barkhad only got paid $65,000 for the film and the studio has not made it rain whatsoever following Barkhad’s Oscar nom. Barkhad is pretty much broke.

Barkhad 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 story reveals that he is now struggling to support 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 Miinneapolis, who shuttles him around for free.”

Abdi earned $65,000 for his performance in the $55 million film, but that was more than two years ago. And even with an Oscar nomination, there’s no guarantee of his future earning potential as an actor. Abdi already won a BAFTA for best supporting actor, and is now reading scripts in search of his next role.

After the Oscars, Abdi plans to move to L.A. and live with fellow “Captain Phillips” actor Faysal Ahmed.

Still, his life is better than it might have been. The 28-year-old was six when war broke out in Somalia, and rape and killing suddenly became common. His mother evacuated the family, first to be with Abdi’s father in Yemen, where he was teaching math. Eventually they settled in Minneapolis in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood, home to many Somalis.

He was working for the limo company when he saw an announcement that a film was looking for actors to play Somali pirates. After filming “Captain Phillips,” he went to work at his brother’s mobile phone store in Minneapolis. But he 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.”

[From The Wrap]

While The Wrap cites the film’s gross as $55 million, that’s just what it made in the domestic market. Captain Phillips made $210 million worldwide. While I can understand why Barkhad was paid so little to do the role (Jonah Hill was paid scale for Wolf of Wall Street as well, but Jonah has crazy 21 Jump Street money coming in), I don’t understand why the studio wouldn’t want to show just a modicum of generosity to Barkhad. Like, letting him have some clothes for free. Or giving him a car and driver for all of his needs when he’s in LA. Jesus. This story is so sad. This poor guy.

But… it’s not all bad news, I guess. Barkhad was recently cast in a new film called The Place That Hits the Sun. It’s about a South African marathon runner named Willie Mtolo in 1992. It’s a movie about running and apartheid. Good. Get him some more immediate work too, like some network TV guest appearances that come with some nice paychecks.


Photos courtesy of WENN.

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167 Responses to “Oscar nominee Barkhad Abdi is broke, he only made $65K for ‘Captain Phillips’”

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  1. blue marie says:

    Aww man that sucks, I hope he’s able to get consistent work.

    • X says:

      If he only got 65k, the idiot shouldn‘t have bought himself an Ferrari!

      • Jordan says:

        I agree! 65k, while nothing in Hollywood is a years salary for some people who are able to live just fine. The movie was very successful, but he was paid. I hope he does get future roles and is successful, but he agreed to do the part for that amount of money, so I don’t think he has anything else coming except hopefully future work.

      • Pandy says:

        Agree Jordan. I would love to earn $65K. Time to learn to budget.

      • MIchelle says:

        what are you talking about, I don’t see that at all?

      • Adele Dazeem says:

        Right, so just because he was photographed sitting in a Ferrari, he automatically owns it? And its automatically ok to call him an idiot? I’d be willing to bet that car wasn’t his. I’ve read the only thing he bought himself was a Saab. Also, he filmed this movie two years ago. That’s $65K stretched over two years, take away taxes. Maybe he had debts to pay, bought his Saab, lived off what remained and then…pfft…its gone. Its not hard to imagine.

      • Samantha25 says:

        He was paid $65000 two years ago. People are acting like he’s earning that per year. Not to mention half of it went to taxes. His situation isn’t odd or surprising. He’s getting the attention because he’s an Oscar nominee.

      • Nikollet says:

        @ Adele Dazeem
        I don’t know anything about the Ferrari or Saab but why exactly did he need to stretch the $65K over 2 years? I have many friends who are actors and have had roles in film, tv and theatre. When they are in professional work get paid well, but don’t expect it to last them until they happen to be cast again. Most of them get other (regular) jobs to tide them over until the next job. One example of this is a well known theatre director in my city who between gigs has been known to sell tickets on the phone in a box office. Not glamorous work, but it pays the bills.

        I’m not saying that Abdi shouldn’t be entitled to a a bonus, but the producers don’t have to support him financially. If he hasn’t worked as an actor since Captain Phillips then perhaps he should find a regular job until he does.

      • Myriam says:

        @ Nikollet.

        He was working a “regular job” after the film.

        “After filming “Captain Phillips,” he went to work at his brother’s mobile phone store in Minneapolis. But he decided to quit when the film premiered.”

        And I’m sorry, but after the success of the film, the studio should have given him at least a bonus. They’re making a shitload of money.

      • Adele Dazeem says:

        @ Nikollett. I never said the producers have to support him financially. Of course they don’t. I agree with you. But a bonus (however unlikely to be given out as its rare) would have been incredibly deserved in this instance. Its obvious he didn’t have a back-end deal. Plus, he did find a regular job after he filmed the movie – in his brother’s mobile phone shop. He left because people were just coming in to the store to see him and it caused problems for the store and made the job untenable. And please don’t take the “stretching the $65K over 2 years” so literally. No-one knows how long that money lasted him – he could have given some to family for all we know, bought the Saab (could have been second-hand, who the hell bloody knows?), paid debts and then – just like your actor friends – got a regular job at his brother’s store. If he is struggling before the next acting job is secure, I don’t think he would find it “beneath” him to get a regular job, such as he has done most of his life. He seems like a regular guy and certainly doesn’t come across as someone who would suddenly act like a douche and not try and financially support himself in a normal job.

  2. Esmom says:

    Yes it is really sad, especially because I’m sure his Cinderella-story nomination boosted the film. I’m happy to hear he has another role, though. That’s a step in the right direction. But I agree the producers need to show him some more money for his part in Captan Phillips. Shame on them!

    • Crank says:

      I agree but at the same time, how is this much different than any other actor who is trying his way through Hollywood? Don’t get me wrong, I wish they would have kept up with him, but this is the same story with many actors, even oscar nominated ones. Now I’m quite sure most actors haven’t lived through what Abdi has, and he unfortunately may be looked over due to many things, but everyone has to earn their way through corrupted Hollywood. I really do feel bad for him, but I guess I’m saying I feel bad for many stories like this, not just Abdi….anybody else have any similar thoughts? Or am I just seeming heartless because I’ve been awake all night due to dumb loud drunk mardi gras neighbors? Lol

      • AG-UK says:

        @Crank you are not heartless :)
        I agree as well. I wish they would give him a bonus but like you said there are many that go thru this. Also, he made a film and got paid $65k there are many people living in the US that don’t earn that for an entire year!!

      • LadySlippers says:

        I think Hollywood needs to revisit how they pay all the ‘little people’ (i.e. practically everyone) and share the wealth. There are far too many people not sharing in the ridiculous wealth that Hollywood bigwigs roll in.

      • Esmom says:

        Crank, I hear you but I do think he’s different in that he earned an Oscar nom right out of the gate, which I gotta believe boosted the film’s profitability. I think they need to do right by him in that regard. As for everything that follows, I agree that he’s kind of on his own, like every other person struggling survive in Hollywood.

        LadySlippers, ITA. The imbalance is crazy.

      • Sixer says:

        @Crank – yes, but Captain Phillips explored issues surrounding piracy (ie what do you do for a living in a war torn, poverty stricken country when international corporates take away your only possible legal living – fishing) and the casting reflected that.

        So there are times when there is an ethical obligation beyond the immediate business. Slumdog and its trust acknowledged that with a different but ethically similar set of circumstances. It seems this film’s moneymen didn’t.

      • Totally agree that he should get a bonus. That being said, the filmmakers took a risk casting a nobody in a pretty high-profile film–that move gave Abdi a ton of exposure to hopefully get his career off to a great start.

        Still, he should have been granted incentives as part of his contract.

      • mercy says:


        Yes, and this is a problem everywhere. The discrepancy between what, say, Wal-Mart pays their executives vs. what they pay their retail workers and the amount of profit their stores make.

      • LadySlippers says:

        It IS a problem everywhere and that’s just very sad.

      • gg says:

        I feel like this guy is head and shoulders more interesting than the usual just starting out movie actor. For that he should get a hell of a lot of jobs and I hope he does. I find him very fascinating.

        For the record, the Slumdog trusts ran into a myriad of problems in that the parents were fighting over custody of the children and greed of the families was a huge factor. I hope they got something sorted out properly because the last time I checked, Boyle was still struggling to find a way to ensure the kids themselves would benefit from the money, and not the parents pocketing everything and staying put in the slum instead of using the money for the good of the children.

        My point is, often, just handing over money to people in poverty areas doesn’t do the trick. I’m so glad he’s out of danger.

      • Adele Dazeem says:

        gg – totally agree. This guy is fascinating. I hope he gets some more worthwhile roles and, more importantly, he is good in them! He has one of the most extraordinary faces on screen I have seen in a long time. His expressions can go from being incredibly ugly to innocent & child-like and back again, in a second. (and yes, his teeth/overbite are unfortunate but maybe that’s what makes him so unique?). I wish him the best of luck.

  3. LadySlippers says:

    If this is true, that he’s broke, it is indeed sad. And I applaud Danny Boyle’s decision to be so forward thinking with his own cast.

  4. Crank says:

    I wish he would’ve pulled a surprise win at the oscars (I’m still upset there weren’t any surprises lol). Hopefully he’ll get some roles. I remember Jeremy Renner wasn’t exactly rich with the hurt locker and the town…I know that’s not the greatest comparison at all, but I’m sure people will notice Abdi if he continues his acting career.

  5. Sixer says:

    Danny Boyle rocks. This, on the other hand, sucks and is far more common. Sigh.

  6. SonjaMarmeladova says:

    He’s such a lovely guy and this makes me so sad. I hope his career will somehow take of after CP.

  7. paola says:

    Being totally serious the first time i saw this guy i thought he was a marathon runner. He has the physique du role. Me being a marathon runner ( 3 hours and 45 mins was my best time ever in the saddest period of my life without junk food, nutella, crisps and anything that tastes nice :D in the attempt of getting a helthier runner) i would love to see him in that role. I would really enjoy it!

    • littlestar says:

      3 hours 45 minutes is an awesome time, paola! I’m running my first full marathon in a few months and I too am trying to cut out as much crap as possible from my diet. It’s freaking hard :( .

      • paola says:

        Yeah that was about it… I’ve never been able to replicate that result.
        Good luck littlestar, I know how hard it is, but it’s also very addictive. Once your legs will start functioning again after a couple of days you’ll plan your next marathon :)
        let me know how it goes! Where are you running?

      • paranormalgirl says:

        I just cut out the crap whilst training for marathons and triathlons. My best time was 3:39, but I average 4:05 now. Didn’t hit a qualifying time for Boston this year, not enough training time. 3:45 is an awesome time, paola! Good luck on 26.2, littlestar!

      • littlestar says:

        I am running the Saskatchewan Marathon (in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada). Ran my first half last year in it, thought I would attempt a full this year, as a way to challenge myself before I turn 30 in July! Very nervous and excited, so thank you for the encouragement ladies :) . I would love to one day have great times like 3:39 or 3:45 – funny how each race that you run faster, you get pumped to try and run the next one even faster than the last.

      • LadySlippers says:

        Completely off topic but for the longest time I could not say your province’s name to save my life. Luckily a classmate of mine in college, who was from Saskatchewan, took the time and taught me how to say it. Lol. Saying Regina still makes me laugh though (so I’m still immature!).

        ETA: Congrats to all of you for undertaking marathon running! WOW. I’m too much of a wimp. Lol

      • paranormalgirl says:

        @littlestar – I don’t think I could a 3:39 now if my life depended on it. LOL.

      • paola says:

        I am training for the Rome marathon on march 23rd.
        i’m shitting myself already.

      • littlestar says:

        LadySlippers – too funny!!! I am actually originally from Alberta, moved to Saskatchewan 3 years ago to be with my husband. I used to have trouble spelling Saskatchewan correctly until I moved here :S. And ironically enough, we live in Regina haha (and travel to run in the province’s big Saskatchewan Marathon). My sister (who lives in Edmonton, Alberta) loves to call Regina “Furgina” lol.

        paola – good luck March 23! I am my marathon end of May, but thankfully have a half marathon a month before that, so hopefully that helps put some of my nerves in check.

      • paranormalgirl says:

        paola – good luck with Rome! I have the Long Island Marathon at the beginning of May and Lake Placid at the beginning of June. My last was the Bahamas Marathon in January. I did poorly in that one.

  8. lucy2 says:

    Considering how well he did in the film and with awards, the studio should throw him a nice little bonus. I can understand a low initial paycheck for an unknown actor, but now, reward him.

  9. Lark says:

    I’m so happy he got another role (and it has a really solid team behind it in terms of the producer and the director). But seriously, smh at the producers and the studio behind Captain Phillips. The movie made a shitload of money—they could rent him an apartment for a year in L.A. or something along those lines.

    • mimi says:


      MTE. Like you said, they could have paid for his rent for a year and provided him with a leased car for at least a year. He was the only one involved in the film who was nominated for a GG, SAG, OSCAR and even a BAFTA win which I’m sure gave the film a box office boost. I hope things start looking up for him now.

  10. Neffie says:

    Didn’t Danny Boyle only sta3rt this trust after outrage the kids were still in the slums?

  11. Suze says:

    I don’t understand. Barkhad is not like those children from Slumdog Millionaire. He is an American citizen, and sounds like he was working regular jobs like everyone else before he got a lucky break with this film. Why should he be given special treatment over the many other struggling actors out there? Why is this even an issue?

    • Crank says:

      I pretty much said the same thing in my post above….many actors, including oscar nominated ones, still have to work their way through Hollywood…doesn’t mean I don’t feel bad for him. I’d love for him to get more money, but he’s definitely not the only one.

    • Maureen says:

      I seriously hate an entitlement attitude, and I hate to hear of someone quitting a job because they got fooled by the big city and bright lights, and didn’t have a back-up plan. BUT! This guy wasn’t just in a popular film. He was nominated for an Oscar. He deserved to be treated special. He deserved a bonus. He deserved to not have to return his clothes.

      • LadySlippers says:

        @Maureen: In another interview he stated he quit because people were recognising him and it was becoming a liability on the job
        – otherwise he was quite happy to be working. I don’t think he feels ‘entitled’ as the interviews I’ve seen he’s come across as both very grateful and humble.

        The outrage I see in the article and in this post isn’t about entitlement — it’s about fairness.

      • Maureen says:

        I didn’t actually say he has an entitlement attitude. I was trying to say that normally I would hate it someone had an entitlement attitude, but in this case I don’t believe it’s entitlement so much as it’s simply reasonable that he should receive something from the back-end for helping make this a multi-million dollar, Oscar-nominated film.

      • LadySlippers says:

        Sorry for misunderstanding and thank you for clarifying.

    • LadySlippers says:

      The issue for me is that this is not how anyone, but especially a multi-award nominee actor should be treated. Tom Hanks is good but Barkhad Abdi’s performance brought this movie a whole new aspect/ angle that all the bigwigs profited from. And to me — therein lies the problem. All the Abdi’s of film (and there are more Abdi’s* on a film than there are Hank’s) should share in its success. No one should have stories like this when Hollywood is so darn profitable.

      *I extend this to all the people that work behind the camera too. The TV & Film industry is immensely profitable and pay should be raised across the board.

      • bob says:

        Exactly, I wasn’t even going to bother with the film until I saw a clip of it at the Baftas; he was magnetic and now I’ll make an effort to rent it, and have made a point to tell other people to, too.

        He deserves a little bump from the studio for bringing so much extra attention to the film.

    • littlestar says:

      I agree with Suze and Crank. It’s really shitty that the movie made so much money (and Tom Hanks’ salary was probably 10+ million) and he made so little off of it. But come on, he probably had a contract to sign before he started and knew what he was getting into (hopefully, anyway). He didn’t have to quit his job – how was he so sure he was going to even get another movie role?

      In a perfect world, they would have financially rewarded him for all of his award nominations, which really did help boost promotion of the film. This just proves that Hollywood is a very greedy place.

  12. Maureen says:

    I don’t know his back story, what kind of colleague or person he is, and whether he’s responsible with money … but, all that aside if this story is true I’m shocked he was treated this way an an OSCAR NOMINEE. That alone should have afforded him some nice benefits. Loaning him clothes? Giving him a budget on food while traveling? No bonus? Shocking.

  13. bettyrose says:

    Why isn’t there profit sharing and royalties for all the actors who make a film successful? Hollywood is a union business.

  14. Mindy says:

    The Producers on this film are the same ones who will be giving the world 50 Shades of Grey.

    Real class… Don’tcha think?

  15. Just says:

    The BM always has to work harder. Whether its in a movie are reallife..Its 2014..But still THIS exists!!Its true.

  16. Mrs. Darcy says:

    I’m sorry but any talk of him being mistreated or hard done by because he has won acclaim for the work (for which he was paid a sum 99% of actors will never see for a one off role), is just stupid and I have found this eagerness to report on him as some sort of hard luck charity case ludicrous. It was his first role, and he now, most likely, will have a great career because of it! How rare is that.

    But because he is a little goofy looking and not white, people are treating him like some orphaned Indian child in the slums with no hope of a future in the business? Did anyone say this about Kathy Bates when she broke through in middle age? He had to wait for the film to be released to get the deserved notice, and now he has won a Bafta, an Oscar nom, and no doubt more film roles are in the pipeline. Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson made a point of showing up for Bafta, cheering insanely for him when he won. Was he paid a lower rate? Of course, that’s the way the business is when you are starting out, and you don’t magically get a bonus just because a film does well unless you are lucky enough to have a share in the film, a la early Star Wars, but that is rare.

    As for him not getting to keep the clothes, how many more famous actors and actresses keep their red carpet loans? Very few. The road to Hollwood is not paved in gold, how many award winning character actors have faded by the wayside after their moment in the sun? They continue to work and get on with their lives, they are not considered tragic cases. I think it so condescending to observe this man in this way, he has very powerful friends now and I would be hugely surprised if he does not earn a respectable and eventually fantastic living if he is smart in his choices. So what if he still has to work at it, that is the life of an actor, a profession which he has willingly entered.

    • LadySlippers says:

      Ouch Mrs Darcy.

      But I think many are outraged at Hollywood as a whole not just him. He’s just another example in an extremely lopsided business.

    • Lark says:

      First of all, I’m a WOC so I’m not “fetishizing” him and I don’t think the people getting outraged, regardless of color, are doing that either. Secondly, it’s VERY common for producers and or studios to offer financial bonuses if an actor gets nominated or wins a major award (Golden Globes, SAG, Oscars, etc.). It seems like this was not the case here….I dislike Jonah Hill and I realize he has way more money by Barkhad, but I also thought it was just as messed up that he got paid minimum wage for the seven month Wolf of Wall Street film.

      WOWS and Captain Phillips are not tiny indies with shoe-string budgets. These are films with big budgets and big producers behind them, and they can afford to give the actors better pay. This wasn’t some small indie, like Beasts of the Southern Wild which had a budget that was under a million dollars. This was a big budget film. In context, it’s messed up that someone with a big supporting role gets paid so little while the producers take home millions of dollars.

      • Mrs. Darcy says:

        I agree it’s totally inequal, and this instance has highlighted it, but anyone who thinks this is going to change is crazy. Hollywood is run on a diet of profit and greed, that is all. The indies are being made for no money and not even the big names are getting paid for them. I totally agree that it’s unjust, but I don’t see this instance changing that and I don’t feel Barkhad’s $65,000 was an example of the worst, for a total unknown that is a very respectable salary, of course Hanks & the producers made far more but that’s the way the cookie crumbles. There are probably a million SAG actors who would line up in the rain for a chance to star alongside Tom Hanks for that amount, not everyone starts at the top.

      • Maureen says:

        IIRC, something similar happening to the trio of actors who did Blair Witch Project. That movie was made on a budget of nothing, the 3 actors were complete unknowns, and the movie was a huge hit and still a cult classic. I love the movie. I remember the 3 actors were supposed to be “going places” but they never went anywhere. During the BWP flurry they often got asked about their pay (which was a pittance) and I recall they seemed to really believe the filmmakers were going to “do right by them” and give them something from the backend just because. I don’t think that ever happened. And the actors just disappeared.

      • Mrs. Darcy says:

        @Maureen: I don’t think he is in the same position as the Blair Witch actors, aside from being new, he has been nominated for and won awards for a major Hollywood film. None of them were really lauded for their acting, it was a fluke. Well, it was just the beginning of the shaky cam horror phenomenon but it was a small, genre film. Not many horror actors break out, it’s rare. I had a friend who auditioned for Blair Witch, I really am bemused by the amount of people expecting benificience from Hollywood producers, from the bottom rung up to the top the actors are the last to get paid, it is so so rare for actors to be paid well, something that seems to confuse people for some reason.

    • abby says:

      While I more or less agree with your sentiments Mrs. Darcy at the same time this situation in general gives me pause. Barkhad was an unknown and in no position to negotiate for more than he received. Considering what many working actors get paid that was fair I suppose. Unfortunately the pay discrepancy between the marquee talent and the working/supporting actors is incredibly enormous.

      This is something that has crossed my mind about Lupita and now for Barkhad (I did not see Captain Phillips so I didn’t really follow his story). As excited as I am to see these new performers breaking out and getting recognition for their talents, it does not escape me that award season must be expensive. Sure, the studios are likely to pay for the travel and accommodations and certainly the designer clothes are on loan but what about the other costs? Stylists? Salon/Mani/Pedi? Hair? Makeup? Family members/Friends attending? Etc. Afterall this may be a once in a lifetime opportunity. Who pays for all this stuff? I imagine the women may incur more expenes than the men but perhaps not, since many men also engage in similar activities. And award season has been going on for months, almost every weekend since late Fall. Those bills add up. So really, who pays for all this? Are they tax-deductible business expenses? I sure hope so.
      Cause for an up and coming actor/actress you still got to pay your agent, manager, publicist, (or whatever team you have that gets you the gig). Not to mention keep up with your daily life – rent/mortgage, other bills, etc. Lupita said she had a roommate, not sure about Barkhad. Granted Lupita has a fashion contract or something so that should provide some sustained income while she considers her next role (which is good that she won’t rush into any movie offer just to make ends meet but rather – hopefully – make a judicious next step). But my point is that neither has been working since award season began and that is not uncommon for actors breaking through (Lupita’s role in Non-Stop was filmed before and it is a very small role anyway). So from what I can tell, both have been going for a few months now without income from a new film project (not including Lupita’s endorsement deal because not every newcomer gets one.)
      I think as an actor/actress, to be saddled with these regular living and career expenses, and then to throw awards season in the mix. That can be asking a bit much.

      BTW, while Danny Boyle and the studio eventually did the right thing by setting up that trust for the SlumDog kids, the credit should go to all the people who got pissed enough to shame them into action. SlumDog cleaned up at awards season that year and made millions at the boxoffice and it was only when video of the kids from the film still living in a slum made the rounds – and people flamed and hollared at them for exploiting the kids – that they eventually went in damage control mode and did something. So yeah, it’s good for the kids that they did it but it was more self-serving and reactionary than anything.

    • mercy says:

      Of course he was paid a lower rate. No one is saying he should make as much as Hanks, and he wasn’t exactly in a great position to negotiate a better contract at the time. But would it kill the studio to give him a bonus now that the film has made money and he’s been nominated for awards? It’s not charity. It’s acknowledging his contribution.

    • d b says:

      I find it exploitvie precisely *because* he is not a professional. A professional might have known to ask for certain perks, against future showings of the movie.

  17. Renee28 says:

    He was an unknown actor with no negotiating power. He probably got the bare minimum in his contract. This isn’t uncommon. Lots of actors have stories about being poor despite being in a successful film. But I wouldn’t be surprised if the studio has given him some sort of bonus.

  18. Autumn says:

    This makes me sad. He was such a stand out performer right from the start. Considering all the nominations he pulled in for Captain Phillips, they could’ve helped him out more. I’m happy to hear he has a movie in the works.

  19. Miss M says:

    65K for a single movie and he is broke?! If he only were a graduate student…

  20. db says:

    Shame on all of the power players connected with Captain Phillips, each of whom (including Tom Hanks) is not only “rich”, but among the richest people in modern history.

  21. Myrto says:

    You know during campaign season how everyone was all “oh I hope Lupita wins the Oscar because that’s probably her one shot to put her foot inside the door” and the whole time, I was thinking about Barkhad and being like” uh, this guy is also nominated for an Oscar, he’s black too and yet nobody’s talking about him”. Hmm. Could it be because Lupita is gorgeous and he just isn’t? Yeah. That’s the reason.
    I felt terrible for him during the Oscars because he didn’t win and we’ll probably never hear about him again.
    Let’s be real: if Lupita has troubles being cast, then what chance in hell does Barkhad Abdi have?

    • LadySlippers says:

      I think no one talked about him as much is because with one big exception — Jared swept the awards. However, Jennifer and Lupita were much more even, therefore we cheered for the underdog that had a chance rather than the underdog that had no chance. And I *was* hoping Barkhad would pull an Oscar upset too — his performance was subtle and powerful.

    • Melissa says:

      I think the fact that 12 years was more critically acclaimed in general than Captain Phillips played a part as well.

    • Hypocrisy says:

      Lupita has more charisma than many established stars, poise, a seductive voice, a dose of well balanced humour and an exquisite eloquence that charms her audience whenever she opens her month.

      She is just interresting to look at but MAINLY interresting to listen too.

      She is the perfect self marketing tool right now. Noone else in Hollywood can open one’s mouth and enchants their audience as easily and as much as this lady. She is grace incarnated more than mere beauty.

      That’s why she took all the light while Barkhad seems way too timid, doesn’t necessary express himself as easily…

    • Zvonk says:

      Lupita trained as an actress and whilst she was lucky to be cast in 12 Years just before graduating, it’s a business she has been intentionally intending to enter. Barkhad showed no interest in acting until he saw an Ad for open auditions for Somalis. For someone who’s had no training, and showed no previous interest in the profession, he’s done very well. I have gut feeling that he won’t get many more roles. Hopefully he’ll invest what money he does make, very wisely.

    • d b says:

      I don’t think it was because of racism, or lookism. Not only was he an unknown, none of the guys hired for Captain Phillips are professional actors. Lupita is a different story.

  22. Vickyt says:

    I don’t quite think Boyle should get so much praise for setting up that trust. If I remember correctly it took a lot of wrangling and media outcry before he set it up. Initially he had no intention to set up a trust for those kids.

  23. ToodySezHey says:

    I live in NorthEast Minneapolis and let me tell you….south minneapolis is basically Little Mogedeshu. Somalis/African muslims are thick as flies in the twin cities Metro area.

    Its a trip to think that, I probably walked past that dude on the street and didnt even know who he was, and now he is an Oscar nominated actor. There was also a huge party for him locally at some club venue that I believe either the studio or just local well wishers set up for friends and family of the actor to watch the awards.

    • LadySlippers says:

      My ex-husband is from North Minneapolis and I’m from Southern Minnesota. :-)

      In Rochester and other cities outside the Twin Cities there are a lot of African immigrants. Even in Omaha, we have a growing African population. It’s nice to see an immigrant find success here in the US.

      • G. says:

        I’m from East Saint Paul, but I have friends in South Minneapolis. It blows my mind that I could have seen him at some point. I wanted him to win the Oscar so bad, but I knew Jared was going to take it. I hope he gets more roles in the future.

  24. Dani says:

    Hate to say this but I’m sure Jonah Hill is going to see some bonus from WWS. Most actors have bonuses written into their contract (as stated above) if they’re nominated/win awards. It’s unfortunate that Barkhad doesn’t have the same luxury because he probably doesn’t have an agent/one as good as other actors can afford and he won’t see what he deserves. He was amazing in CP, he practically made the movie. Hope for him to move forward in Hollywood.

    • Seán says:

      Many first time actors get burned with their first roles. As far as everyone’s concerned, you’re at the bottom of the food chain and even if you do great work, you don’t have the reputation to ‘be greedy’ and demand more. It’s the same with any job. I graduated from college in May and I can’t just go into a firm and demand a high salary, perks and all these other things I’m supposed to be entitled to. I worked in a firm for three months as an intern where I was paid no money at all. I worked much harder than some of the actual paid employees there and helped out a number of different departments in the company. The firm couldn’t afford to offer me a paid job (although I was told by numerous people there that I was a fantastic help and that I would be hireable if the company’s situation was better). My parents were annoyed that I wasn’t given just a little money for my help but that’s just the way the world is now, it’s a dog eat dog world and the more you progress, the more power you have. So I empathise with this guy and I hope he continues to get work but he was in a better off situation than many people.

      People complain about Tom Hanks’ huge salary and while I think Hollywood is a greedy business, it’s really no different from anywhere else. Hanks has worked hard to get where he is and has a reputation within the business. You can’t underestimate what an A-list name will do for a movie. If you’re anyway interested in the film industry, it’s only a small factor but if you’re just the average person who only does the occasional trip to the movies, a big recognisable name is a major asset. Barkhad Abdi may have generated a lot of buzz within the film/entertainment/gossip sphere and I’m sure most people who seen the movie were similarly impressed with him but for quite a number of people it would have been seeing the promos with the dependable, likeable Hanks in them. I think if you’re persistent and have enough hope and are able to bounce back from a series of blows, you’ll get somewhere in life. Hopefully Barkhad can do that and have more pulling power in Hollywood so that his agent can negotiate better deals for him. I’m sure his Oscar and Golden Globe nominations as well as his BAFTA win will be a great deal more help than what some people have to work with.

  25. Delta Juliet says:

    You know, I work hard at my job. I’m pretty darn good at it. I have a family to support. And my salary is about half of what he got paid for one movie, in a year! No one cries about how unfair that is (except me, sometimes haha).

    Like others have said, if he gets another role, I am sure he will be well compensated as an Oscar nominee. But when he was signed on to this movie, he was a nobody. They didn’t know when they started this thing that it would be as successful as it was and they didn’t know he would be nominated. That is on him and his agent, not the movie studio. And I’m not even sticking up for the studio because I’m sure there are tons of self-serving assholes in there. But they don’t make their money by feeling sorry for everybody else, and that is true of real life, as well. Fair? No. Common and probably expected? Hell yes.

    I’m not sure how he could be broke after being paid $65,000 unless he blew it all. I’m sure his salary wasn’t that high before, he should have been able to swing it.

    • idk says:

      I think he was working as a limo driver if I’m not mistaken. $65 000 is a lot to the average person. When he was cast for this role he was an “average person”. Now that we all know who he is, I am sure his next role will pay much more. Let’s not feel too sorry for him…everyone has to start somewhere. He’ll be a millionaire by this time next year.

  26. Sisi says:

    Isn’t there a promotional budget for actors expenses during awards season or something? They represent the movie all over the place. That’s probably hundreds of hours of time and effort for him extra. They got off easy with 65.000 for worldwide marketing in that regard.

    • Adele Dazeem says:

      When actors travel and participate in publicity tours, they don’t have to pay for anything. They have their accommodation and meals taken care of. They would also be given a choice of loaned clothes (if it was a film with a good marketing budget) as is what happened with Barkhad on the Captain Phillips publicity tours. Those clothes you see on some glamorous A-lister when she appears on Ellen or on the Today Show have very likely just been pulled from a rack of potential outfits that morning and will go back on there after they are finished with. Plus, as per union rules, actors are paid a per diem every day to cover any of their other expenses from ‘being away from home’. Barkhad would have been paid a per diem, just as George Clooney would be paid a per diem whenever he is on tour. The difference is the amount they would be paid.

  27. allheavens says:

    There are actors who are relatively famous but not A-List who barely make a living in Hollywood. The pay scale in Hollywood is not what it use to be unless you are a star or lucky enough to be a lead on a massive hit TV show.

    This was his first role and he was lucky he was paid $65K but that was two years ago. He should have made the move to LA as soon as the movie rapped, made the rounds, used his connections and secured some sort of work to keep his face out there. Lightening does not always strike twice. I don’t think he really gave much thought to a career in acting until his performance received critical acclaim but those are the breaks.

    ALL actors have to struggle in varying degree of course, but they still struggle to get that first break and to build on it. Just because his performance earned him a BAFTA and an Oscar nod does not immediately translate into $$$ or it may never translate into $$$.

    We all know that it’s a business and actors are commodities but it is also very difficult for actors of color to achieve the same career equivalency as their white counterparts (you know it’s true). But I am rooting for him and hope he gets the career he wants.

    • Algernon says:

      “He should have made the move to LA as soon as the movie rapped, made the rounds, used his connections and secured some sort of work to keep his face out there. ”

      No one knew who he was until the movie came out. He did the right thing in terms of sticking with his day job until the movie came out. Once people saw him and heard his heart-warming story, then lightning struck and he could try to take advantage of it. But if he’d moved right after the movie wrapped he’d have spent two years struggling anonymously in LA, and believe me, he’d be way worse off now.

      • allheavens says:

        It doesn’t matter if the public didn’t know who he was. Members of the industry (some very important) knew who he was. He lost important time when he could have gotten a day job in LA and made the rounds. He was not going to find a lot of film roles in Minneapolis.

        But if people are looking for fairness in Hollywood they will be sorely disappointed. It is simply not going to happen. Corporations own the studios now and the bottom line is their ALL consuming concern and unfortunately good people get screwed in the process.

  28. smee says:

    According to the interwebs, Tom Hanks got paid $50 million for Capt. Phillips……..

  29. Algernon says:

    I don’t have a problem with an unknown, first-time actor making (a little more than) scale for a movie. I don’t have a problem with how the studio handled putting up Barkhad Abdi in LA during award season. All that stuff is pretty standard and how it goes for everyone, especially those just starting out. I do have a problem, though, because the movie was so successful and he got nominated for all the major awards and even won the BAFTA. At that point, just throw the guy a bonus. It doesn’t even have to be a seven figure amount. $250,000 would make a huge difference to him, and it would be a nice stop-gap until his residuals kick in.

  30. TheCountess says:

    I hate to bring him up, because I loathe him, but Jonah Hill made “The Wolf of Wall Street” for $50,000. While in that instance, he was accepting a meager sum for the prestige of appearing in the film, it goes to show that Scorsese was budgeting to pay an unknown (or lesser known) actor in the same range that Abdi received for “Captain Phillips.” That’s how it works. For those comparing what Tom Hanks made to Abdi, well, what did DiCaprio make in contrast to Hill?

    Abdi’s best shot is to look towards television/Netflix; the programming there will offer a lot more opportunity for diverse, offbeat casting. Plus, for that medium, an Oscar nominee is a “get”; in the movies, his cache will be significantly less.

  31. Sandra says:

    I get it, but he did his job, got paid, and now it’s time to move on to the next job. Just because you’re in one good movie doesn’t mean you should be set up for life. I actually find it kind of sickening that so many are.

  32. Marianne says:

    Sorry, but I don’t feel that bad for him. $65,000 is more money than some others make. Plus, he would have agreed to a contract saying that they would pay him that amount. He’s a grown man. Lots of struggling actors (especially when they are still new in the business) continue to work as waiters/valet parkers/bartenders etc. Barkhad could have done the same.

    • LadySlippers says:

      He actually was working at a mobile phone kiosk in Minneapolis until the movie released and awhile after. Since Minnesota isn’t immune to ‘stars’ like Hollywood is — he felt compelled to quit because he was getting recognised frequently and it was impacting his job negatively. He, almost literally, went from a nobody to a star. The numerous nominations would have compounded that exponentially.

  33. vvvoid says:

    Ththis story really hits home for me. I was engaged to a beautiful, brilliant Somali man named Liban who left N. Somalia at the very same age as Abdi for the very same reasons and let me tell you, Liban told me every detail of the horros he witnessed as a child and it changed my life forever. Imagine being a child and seeing the elementary school next to yours seized by militia, the students used as human blood banks for injured soldiers, their bodies dumped in mass graves. Being ripped from your beautiful wealthy home, your father sent to a torture prison so the regime could seize his wealth while you and your R brothers and 18 year old mother sent to a death camp for 2 years where the soldiers routinely raped and tortured everyone, including your 8 year old cousin who was gang raped by Ethiopian guards all HIV+. Then imagine a miracle happening, your father escapes prison after the US sends troops and it is abandoned, he finds you in the camp and rescues you and his family. You return home, it has been ransacked, but you are only to be there a few weeks before seeking asylum in Canada. 2 days before you are to flee to safety in North America, you and your beloved older brother Samatar are playing soccer in the backyard. Samatar is the only reason you are alive, having kept your spirits up while starving to death in the camp, even tricking you out of hunger by making “magic tea” out of leaves, telling you if you drink it all your hunger would vanish. Samatar was only 13. He goes to retrieve the ball a few feet from you and suddenly there is a loud explosion and he is obliterated by a land mine intentionally placed in the yard by militia in case you ever escaped camp and came home. You watch as your brave father collects the little shreds left of his body strewn around the yard to wrap in a white shroud for a proper Muslim burial. 2 days and you all would have been safe. This is just part of the tragedy Liban endured when everything fell apart in Somalia. When we broke up, largely due to problems between us caused by his untreated ptsd, I got a memorial tattoo reading “ina sheikhau Muhummed” or “first son of Sheikh Muhummed” which was Samatar’s title because Liban’s story will always be a part of me and I was the only person he ever told and breaking up doesn’t change how sacred that is to me or the genuine grief I feel for what he lost. Things are so chaotic in Somalia even still that when he returned recently to visit Samatar’s grave he thought “what if this is destroyed by the time I return again?”and then he said to himself “Samatar’s resting place is now forever on Angels arm” and he told me that comforted him. The people we lose in these far away conflicts are often nameless and faceless to us in The West. But those affected are real people, each with individual personalities, hopes, loves, fears. One of them may have been your soulmate you never got the chance to meet. That mine could have easily taken Liban from me before I ever had the uncanny honor of knowing him and that thought breaks my heart because even though we are not together, I will always love him with everything I have. So to see Abdi Barkhad recognized stirs up much emotion in me. I am sad he hasn’t been properly compensated but knowing Somalis, they are very proud and I can’t imagine he would want some kind of special charity handout. Liban was from a very wealthy family, I think most people are unaware that many Somalis are far richer than our middle class. Not sure about Abdi’s famil. I am just glad they actually casted a Somali to play a Somali. I get so offendedwhen someone who is clearly not even from North East Africa let alone The Horn is cast as a Somali. Somalis are the most unqiue, regal, beautiful people I have ever seen but totally underrepresented in Hollywood and the media.

    • LadySlippers says:


      May your beloved find the healing he so desperately deserves. And may the same be granted to other war torn victims through out the world.

    • EmmGee says:

      Thank you for sharing your story. It brought tears to my eyes. You and Liban were lucky to have found one another in this crazy world we live in. I think many Americans turn a blind eye to the plight of war-torn, conflicted countries because we don’t have the ability to fully grasp the horrors of such actions. We can’t understand what it’s like to live in continual fear for our lives, and we don’t want to believe that humans are capable of such cruelty to one another. Thank you for reminding me of all the things I’m grateful for; I pray that one day stories such as Liban’s will be a thing of the past.

  34. Blasian says:

    In comparison to the revenue generated by the film and top billing stars yes $65 000 for the role seems meagre. But as other posters have commented there are many who exist on much less per year. Suggestion: Lots of people of work different jobs to make ends meet.

  35. Em says:

    I wouldn’t compare him to other oscar nominees pretty sure Jonah hill has made a mint beforehand and made a choice to take minimum wage so he would have a choice to work with Scorsese. Hill had the choice and since he has already bee paid handsomely for other movies it probably isn’t hurting him too much financially. The only other oscar nominee that is comparable to barkhad is lupita in the sense that’s she did not have an established career already. But lupita is from a wealthy background and can probably afford to keep herself going during awards season plus I imagine fashion designers are more than happy to give her the outfits since she has become an it girl.
    It takes a lot of time to travel around to all these awards show, it’s not like he could hold down a regular job while doing that so I can see how this would become a problem and considering his performance gave the film a lot of publicity I think they should have given him a bonus.
    Glad to hear he was cast in a new movie though, he was really excellent in captain Phillips.

    • CN says:

      That is exactly correct – Lupita comes from a wealthy family – money is not an issue for her. In as much as we have celebrated Lupita and rightly so, I think Barkhad deserves as much celebration. This man’s story is not one of wealth and privilege. The fact that he got the role in Captain Phillip’s, with no acting training or previous experience, should be testament to his potential.

  36. Maggie says:

    Too bad as he was the standout in an otherwise shitty film.

  37. joan says:

    He used to be a limo driver — someone should help him with a part-time limo job while he looks for another role.

    A limo company with drivers who are up-and-coming actors is a fun idea. You’d think the actors could network with potential limo clients when they get acting jobs. And the Hollywood clients they’d drive would know the driver might be less star-struck and more circumspect than the general public.

  38. Maritza says:

    He should invest on fixing his teeth, maybe he’ll find more jobs. Good luck to he guy.

  39. vvvoid says:

    Thanks EM and Ladyslippers, it still amazes me that circumstances ever brought Liban and I together. I know many Somalis though, and they are all exceptionally witty; intelligent people, likeit’s in the blood. The food is incredible too but it will make you blow up, so rich. I wish more people knew more about Somalis aside from the whole pirate situation. There is soooo much more to know. I am afraid that due to his awkward appearance Abdi won’t be cast in many roles, but he has charisma on screen and if he is passionate about acting could certainly develop a cult following.

    • Maureen says:

      I can see him as a recurring cast member on a TV show — maybe HBO or Showtime. He really needs a good TV show. He would have steady work and could solidify himself with a fan base. Some of these shows that are really popular bring hardcore fans for each character, and if the character is interesting and unique enough, no one cares how they look. I could really see him doing well among a cast of others. Then he could be free to do a movie here or there.

  40. Suze says:

    His financial situation is too bad. I hope he is able to get more roles, and isn’t viewed as a novelty by Hollywood. Only time will tell.

    He was fantastic in that film.

  41. GIRLFACE says:

    What a shame to read about how people in smaller roles are stiffed. That is so discouraging. Hope he gets more work, he was great in the movie.

  42. mag336 says:

    He’s a really good actor… He did an unbelievable job on the movie especially in being his first. They definitely should give him a bonus. Mr. Hanks u should help facilitate this.