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OTRC: 'Captain Phillips': Meet Oscar-nominated star Barkhad Abdi (Interview)

Barkhad Abdi, who plays the Somali pirate Muse in 'Captain Phillips,' talks to OTRC.com about the film and his life in December 2013. He is nominated for an Oscar for his role.

Meet Barkhad Abdi, who is nominated for an Oscar for his role as Muse, the lead Somali pirate in the movie "Captain Phillips" who famously utters to co-star Tom Hanks the line: "Look at me."

The movie marks the 28-year-old actor's on-screen acting debut. And Abdi is actually from Somalia, although he also grew up in Yemen, and initially had a different career goal other than acting. The actor talked to OTRC.com about his childhood, career and Oscar hopes. Watch videos from the interview above and below and check out 5 highlights.

1. He wanted to become a soccer star.

Abdi was born in a civil war-torn Somalia and moved to Yemen as a child. "There, I started playing soccer," he told OTRC.com. "I loved soccer when I was a kid .. in Yemen, I played soccer a lot. That was a big dream. When I came to the U.S., that just went out the door! [laughs]"

Abdi got into acting after dabbling in video production in high school.

"After college I decided to start using the camera again and do music videos and search for some friends that were in the industry," he said. "So I wasn't acting but I was directing, recording and editing."

2. He lived in Minneapolis and worked as a limo driver.

"It was a weather shock but not so much culture shock," he said. "It was alright -- I got used to it. There was a huge Somali community there."

"The people there are so nice and I fit right in," he added. It's still home."

3. His favorite music and TV shows ...

"I listen to a lot of hip-hop," Abdi said. "I basically listen to all types of music. I watch TV too. I watch a lot of TV, 'Family Guy' or 'Senifeld,' Dave Chappelle.

4. His biggest fear about filming "Captain Phillips" ...

"Being in the water was a little bit scary," Abdi told OTRC.com. "I rhad to really learn how to swim because I was doing a scene in the water. That was the hardest for me."

5. On meeting Tom Hanks ...

"The first scene that I see Tom in the film, that's actually the first time that I met him," Abdi said. "I just had to forget that it was Tom and do the best I can."

Reporting by Cari Skillman of KABC Television, who produces the nationally syndicated entertainment show "On The Red Carpet" (check for local TV listings).

Check out Barkhad Abdi's response to his Oscar nomination, another clip from his sit-down interview with OTRC.com and a trailer for "Captain Phillips." Also, vote in our poll - who do YOU think should win Best Actor In A Supporting Role at the 2014 Oscars?

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