Barkhad Abdi is a Somali–American actor and independent director, best known for his award-winning role in the multiple-‘Oscar’-nominated biographical thriller ‘Captain Phillips,’ starring Tom Hanks. He was essentially a non-professional actor, cast by director Paul Greengrass (of the ‘Jason Bourne’ series fame) to play the menacing leader of a band of Somali pirates in the film. He had never acted before in his life, but admittedly, had dabbled in directing amateurish music videos and short films. Since the immense critical and commercial success of his debut role, Abdi has appeared in major Hollywood projects such as ‘Eye in the Sky,’ ‘Blade Runner 2049,’ and ‘The Pirates of Somalia.’ “I just want to keep acting and better my craft and see how far it goes,” says the understated and grounded Hollywood rookie, who is known for his characteristic skeletal appearance and protruding incisors. Abdi hails from a first-generation Somali immigrant family that had fled war-torn Somalia when he was just a small child. He was named an ambassador for ‘Adeso’ in 2013, which is a grassroots African humanitarian NGO founded by Somali environmentalist Fatima Jibrell.