One of the most anticipated films of 2013 is about to hit the big screen. Captain Phillips is the true story of Captain Richard Phillips and the 2009 hijacking by Somali pirates of the US-flagged MV Maersk Alabama, the first American cargo ship to be hijacked in two hundred years.

The film is on our must-see list, as it’s action-packed, Tom Hanks is obviously a legend, and it’s refreshing as it brings new amazing talent to Hollywood.

One of the exciting newcomers is  Barkhad Abdi – who stars in the film as the pirates’ captain.  Originally from Somalia, he has an incredible story of growing up surrounded by chaos, robbery, and rape only to have escaped the violence of his own country by winning a lottery for a visa to emigrate to the United States!

In an interview with HitFix, Barkhad recalled the difficulty in finding empathy for his criminal character. Actually, it wasn’t until he realized how fortunate he was to have great parents who guided him that he could empathize with Muse, the thieving pirate captain he portrays in the film.

He explained:

“What if I didn’t have such parents,” Abdi asks. “What if I was just another guy? I would be just like the pirates. The situation would give me no other choice. I’m at the stage in my life where I want to be somebody now, be married, but what if I was just stuck there? There’s no government for years, no jobs, no hope. So I think with people like that who were there and they grew up seeing all of this, it’s just normal to them. This is the way of life and you will only get out of it if you make money — enough money, not any money. Enough money to be somebody.”

Word is that Barkhad tried out for the movie on a whim and got the role. Welcome to Hollywood!

Captain Phillips will be in theaters everywhere on October 11th with special screenings tomorrow, October 5th. Get showtimes here:

In the meantime, check out some photos of Tom, Barkhad and more of the cast below!

Barkhad Abdi, Faysal Ahmed, and Mahat Ali

Mahat Ali, Tom Hanks, and Faysal Ahmed

Tom Hanks and Barkhad Abdi

The pirates aboard Captain Phillips‘ ship

Barkhad Abdi gets into character as he plays Muse, the film’s pirate captain, alongside actors Barkhad Abdirahman, Mahat Ali, and Faysal Ahmed.

The Somali Pirates

SOURCE: IMDBHitFix | PHOTO & VIDEO CREDIT: Columbia, Sony Pictures

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