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Poor and Famous in Hollywood: Captain Phillips Co-Star Struggling Financially


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A tale of two best supporting actor nominees:

Despite Barkhad Abdi's Academy Award nomination, his story has not been quite rags-to-riches.

Much is being made over a report from The New Yorker that the the "Captain Phillips" actor is having trouble making ends meet. He was paid $65,000 two years ago for the role, which earned him a best supporting actor nomination this season.

Abdi told CNN's Poppy Harlow that he didn't have an agent to even negotiate his salary (he does now).

"It was my first film," he said. "I didn't have many options."

Such a small salary for a performer in a multimillion-dollar blockbuster is not rare for a first-time actor. Brad Pitt reportedly received only $6,000 for his breakout role in the 1991 film "Thelma and Louise."

A few more established actors have chosen to forgo big paychecks in order to participate in a project. Jonah Hill accepted a paycheck of only $60,000 for his recent role in "The Wolf of Wall Street."

"I would sell my house and give (director Martin Scorsese) all my money to work for him," Hill said. "This isn't what you make money for; you do '22 Jump Street,' you do other things, to pay your rent. But I would do anything in the world. I would do it again in a second."

Abdi's story may be drawing so much attention because of his hardscrabble backstory.

The Somali actor left his war-torn country as a youngster with his family and settled in Yemen. Years later, they immigrated to the United States, where they joined a large community of Somalis in Minneapolis.

He was driving for his brother's limousine company when he answered a casting call for Somali actors for the "Captain Phillips" film.

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