The latest edition of The Hollywood Reporter features a behind-the-scenes look at "Captain Phillips," the upcoming drama starring Tom Hanks and newcomer Barkhad Abdi.
The world watched with rapt attention when Somali pirates boarded Capt. Richard Phillips's cargo ship and took its leader hostage back in 2009. Now, almost five years later, Hanks is playing the captain opposite Abdi's Muse, the leader of the pirates.
But, as Hanks admits, In order to keep the tension in the film, director Paul Greengrass made sure the two actors didn't meet until the scene in the movie when Muse and his crew board the ship.
"It was a very unique experience to be shooting that first take... It was loud and scary and intimidating. I mean, we all looked like fat, middle-aged, lazy white guys. And in came the skinniest, scariest-looking human beings on the planet." He later added, "There's a lot of mental stress... [There's] the anger that goes along with it and the desperation and stuff like that. You've got to start at 60 miles an hour. It takes its toll."
Abdi describes in detail living in Somalia before the civil war broke out, his family's move to Yemen, and their eventual relocation to Minnesota. Although he was discouraged from trying out for the film, he gave it a whirl anyway. "People around me would say, 'Oh, they're going to embarrass Somali people, don't go,'" he said, adding, "I was like, 'It's Tom Hanks. I'm going to check it out.' So I went [to one casting call]. There's a lot of people there. I said, 'My name's Barkhad Abdi. I was born in Mogadishu, and I am the part.'"
"'Captain Phillips" will premiere at the New York Film Festival on September 27, and open in theaters October 11.