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First-time Mpls. actor makes cover of Hollywood Reporter with Tom Hanks

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First-time actor Barkhad Abdi's introduction to the movie business has not only landed him opposite Tom Hanks in "Captain Phillips," but on the cover of one of the biggest trade magazines in the entertainment industry.

Abdi -- who is from the Twin Cities -- and Hanks are featured on the cover of the Oct. 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter.

The cover story tease says, "Tom Hanks puts his Oscar appeal to the test, and filmmakers find one of the 'skinniest, scariest-looking human beings on the planet' in ... Minneapolis?"

Click the photo to enlarge the image.

The actors are also interviewed in a video posted on the THR web site.

In the video, Abdi explains to Hanks that the filmmakers came to Minneapolis to audition potential actors for the film because the city has the largest Somali population in the country.

Abdi plays Abduwali Abdukhadir in the film, the head Somali pirate of a group that in 2009 hijacked Captain Richard Phillips’ freighter, the US-flagged MV Maersk Alabama.

The interview and a photo shoot for the magazine gave Hanks and Abdi a chance to get to know each other, because director Paul Greengrass kept Abdi and his fellow Somali actors apart from Hanks (who plays the title role) during the film shoot to help build intensity between the actors.

"He is in the creative arts," Hanks told THR. "He records music, and he does all sorts of stuff like installations. He never really explained it to me (during the shoot) because he was so focused on the job at hand."

See Abdi and Hanks' video interview with THR below.

Also in the article Hanks noted to Abdi that his and his co-stars' lives will dramatically change once the film comes out.

"Are you guys prepared to be the most famous Somalis in America for a while? It's going to be interesting, what happens," Hanks said.

The rookie actor has already attracted major Oscar buzz for the movie, from the likes of THR and Hollywood's other major trade publication, Variety.

The Associated Press also put Abdi it its “Fall movies: 10 performances to watch” list.

If he's nominated for an Oscar -- he's being mentioned as a possibility in the Best Supporting Actor category -- Abdi will become the first Somali actor in history to be nominated for an Academy Award.

"Captain Phillips" will play at the New York Film Festival later this month before it is released nationwide on Oct. 11.

See the trailer for "Captain Phillips" below.

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