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Railroad Revival abruptly canceled

The Railroad Revival Tour has run off the tracks.

The cross-country tour featuring Willie Nelson, Jamey Johnson, Band of Horses and John C. Reilly has been canceled by organizers.

A note on the tour’s website says “certain complications would not permit us to host the shows in the manner intended,” but gave no further details.

The eight-stop tour in vintage railcars was expected to start Oct. 20 in Duluth, Ga., and conclude Oct. 28 in Oakland, Calif. Full ticket refunds are being given.

This would have been the second Railroad Revival Tour. The first, featuring Mumford & Sons, Old Crow Medicine Show and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, was chronicled in the documentary “Big Easy Express.”

Here’s what Omar Sharif, then a young actor who had only worked in Egypt, thought when the offer of a co-starring role in “Lawrence of Arabia” came to him.

“I thought it was a bit of a stupid idea,” he says from Paris. “I mean, there were no girls. All of the actors, me included, were unknowns. There was little action. And a lot of desert. The public won’t pay to see that!”

He laughs at how wrong he was. Fifty years later, “Lawrence of Arabia” is revered as one of the greatest films ever made. Newly restored, it will be released on Blu-ray next month.

“It’s an extraordinary film. But when you are about to do it, you don’t see that. You don’t believe it will come out that way. You’re in the desert with unknown actors and David Lean. I had no idea of what I was doing. It was madness.”

The film launched the careers of co-stars Peter O’Toole, in the title role, and of Sharif, now 80. He plays Sherif Ali, the friend, fellow soldier and connection between the British officer Lawrence and the native Arabs he would stir to into revolt against the Turks, part of Britain’s World War I strategy to chase Turkey out of the war.

Sharif had worked in Egyptian films for over a decade before “Lawrence of Arabia” came along. But, he says, Lean “told me, after the film, ‘I don’t want you to ever play an Arab again. You are going to be a great star. Don’t let them put you in a corner.’ And the next film I did, he had me playing a Russian – ‘Doctor Zhivago.’ I think he did that just to make sure I didn’t play another Arab.”

The birthday bunch

Actor Paul Hogan (“Crocodile Dundee”) is 73. Actor-comedian Chevy Chase is 69. Author R.L. Stine (“Goosebumps”) is 69. Actress Sigourney Weaver is 63. Singer Robert “Kool” Bell (Kool and the Gang) is 62. Comedian Darrell Hammond (“Saturday Night Live”) is 57. Actress Stephanie Zimbalist is 56. Singer CeCe Winans is 48. Actor-screenwriter Matt Damon is 42. Actor Nick Cannon is 32. Actor Angus T. Jones (“Two and a Half Men”) is 19.


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