Barkhad Abdi makes TV debut as Congolese warlordBarkhad Abdi, the 29-year-old Somali-American star of “Captain Phillips” movie, has made his television debut this week as a Congolese warlord on the 15th episode of the CBS police drama “Hawaii Five-0.”
The Oscar-nominated actor plays Roko Makoni, a Congolese warlord who faked his death during a 2011 bombing by the Zaire Air Force on his compound. However, the Five-0 team discovers that Roko has been hiding in Hawaii’s Oahu island and has become a taxi driver.
After a brief shootout with the Five-0 team, Roko creates a volatile hostage situation. He ends up being shot and is eventually sent back to Congo.
Barkhad, who is still at the beginning stage of his acting career, told The New York Post that he is not worried about portraying a bad guy.
“To me, if the storyline is good, that’s when you know whether you’ll take the job or not,” he told The Post. “I’m an entertainer, you know? If you would like to see me doing bad, I guess I should do that again.”
Peter Lenkov, executive producer of the Hawaii Five-0, told Entertainment Weekly that Barkhad’s character is inspired by the elusive Lord’s Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony.
“He plays basically Kony, that African warlord who was in the news a few years ago,” he said. “He plays a character like that hiding on the island here, and somebody discovers that he’s here. And our guys end up confronting him.”
“It’s a big, big episode,” he added. “We were so lucky to get him, and we wrote it with him in mind. We were able to get him to the island and that was a big coup for us.”
According to The Post, Barkhad will appear in two upcoming movies, including “Eye in the Sky,” a thriller shot in South Africa, starring “Breaking Bad” star Aaron Paul.
“There’s a lot that I want to show and a lot that I want to accomplish, you know?” Barkhad said.
After he was nominated in 2014 for an Oscar as the lead pirate in the movie “Captain Phillips,” reports surfaced that the Somali-born actor was struggling to make ends meet.
He reportedly earned $65,000 for his role in the 55-million-dollar movie.
— Mukhtar M. Ibrahim (@mukhtaryare) March 1, 2014
For his role, Barkhad also won the Best Supporting Actor at the British Film and Television Awards.