Budding actors' chance to star with Tom Hanks

Dubai online casting firm seeks Somalis for new pirate movie.

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Wanted: five Somali actors to appear with Tom Hanks in a new ship-hijack movie, piracy experience not essential.

The online casting site dotcasting.com, run by the Dubai-based company Mediacubed, is looking for five men between the ages of 16 and 35, one of whom will star opposite the Academy Award-winning actor in Maersk Alabama.

The film's British director, Paul Greengrass, is not concerned with the actors' experience, said Mediacubed's managing director, Adam Ridgway. "He likes fresh talent that is hungry and will listen on set, so he can model their acting and draw out the best bits from them."

The actors will be required to film in the United States from February to April next year. Mr Ridgway said they wanted to cast as quickly as possible, but they could be looking for more actors later.

Applicants are not required to speak fluent Somali, as long as they have a believable accent.

Hopefuls can apply at dotcasting.com before December 7. If they fit the criteria they will receive a script, which they can use to film an audition to upload to the website.

Those chosen to go through to the second round will be asked for an additional audition in either the US or the UAE.

Dotcasting.com is the only online casting company in the Middle East, and worked on the Dubai shoot for Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, starring Tom Cruise, which will be released in December.

Mr Ridgway says online casting makes the hunt for talent much faster and more efficient.

"When you audition in person, you might be really nervous, particularly if you're going to be standing in front of your favourite director, like Steven Spielberg, for example.

"This self-record option enables you to deliver your best performance and get rid of the nerves."

In Maersk Alabama, Hanks plays Captain Richard Phillips, who was held hostage at sea on a lifeboat for three days after pirates attacked his container ship off the coast of Somalia in April 2009.

He was rescued by a team of US Navy Seals who shot three pirates dead. One survived. He was prosecuted, convicted and jailed for 33 years.

The film is based on the officer's book, A Captain's Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALs, and Dangerous Days at Sea.

Paul Greengrass isresponsible for two of the Jason Bourne movies starring Matt Damon, and Maersk Alabama is being produced by the team behind two of last year's most successful movies, The Social Network and True Grit.

This article has been corrected since original publication. The Dubai casting company is called Mediacubed, and not the Media Group.