Here’s the irony. Barkhad Abdi, the Somali star turn of the film Captain Phillips, is broke.
The film, a very realistic portrayal of Somali piracy, seems to be accurate even to the detail that, as in real life, the people behind the scenes make the money while those in the action don’t.
Abdi is reported to have been paid $65,000 for the film, which has grossed over $200 million. He gave up a steady job to take on the role of the pirate leader in the film, and hasn’t found work since, despite an Oscar nomination.
It’s not that different out there for young Somali boys who get pushed or who jump into piracy, who risk their lives and find at the end of it all that their share of the booty hardly covers their expenses. So they have to go out again, and again, until they don’t come back or they get a promotion to a spot where they do make a bit more.
Meanwhile the fat cats ashore who back the enterprise get seriously rich.