Seen and heard in Cannes

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By The Associated Press, Associated Press

CANNES, France (AP) — Associated Press journalists open their notebooks at the Cannes Film Festival:

LUHRMANN: JAY-Z KEY TO 'GATSBY'

Not everyone is a fan of "The Great Gatsby'''s hip-hop flavored soundtrack, but director Baz Luhrmann says using modern music was essential to capturing the spirit of F. Scott Fitzgerald's 1925 novel.

"We wanted the film to feel like how it would have felt to read the novel in 1925," the director told reporters at the Cannes Film Festival, where the movie provided opening-night screen fireworks and red-carpet glamor.

"Fitzgerald put music front and center in his novel. He took African-American street music called jazz and he put it right as a star in the book. People said, 'Why are you doing that? It's a fad, it'll be gone next week.' And he said, because I want this book to feel right here, right now."

Luckily for Luhrmann, "Gatsby" star Leonardo DiCaprio introduced him to Jay-Z, and the superstar agreed to help score the film. Two of Jay-Z's own tracks — "$100 Bill" and the Grammy-winning jam "No Church in the Wild" — feature on the soundtrack, and he elicited contributions from the likes of wife Beyonce, Emeli Sande and Lana Del Rey.

Luhrmann also used the soundtrack to counter criticism of the absence of African-American speaking characters in the movie — as in Fitzgerald's book.

"Jay said that music is a star in the film so I think there is a great African-American presence in this film and I am very, very grateful for it," he said.

—Jill Lawless, Twitter: http://Twitter.com/JillLawless

CANNES: WHAT ARE THE ODDS?

The French Riviera is a magnet for gamblers, so it's no surprise oddsmakers are speculating furiously about who will win prizes from the Cannes Film Festival jury headed by Steven Spielberg.

Journalist and Cannes betting expert Neil Young ranks "Grisgris," by Chadian filmmaker Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, the early favorite for the Palme d'Or at 5-1, followed by "The Past," from Iran's Asghar Farhadi — who won an Academy Award for "A Separation" — at 11-2 and U.S. director James Gray's 1920s New York story "The Immigrant" at 13-2.

Other frontrunners are "Like Father, Like Son" from Korean director Kore-eda Hirokazu; Arnaud Desplechin's "Jimmy P," with Benicio del Toro as a traumatized Native American war veteran; and Alexander Payne's road movie "Nebraska."

But none of those films has even screened yet, and the odds are sure to change often before the prizes are handed out on May 26.

—Jill Lawless, Twitter: http://Twitter.com/JillLawless

MOORE EXPRESSES ADMIRATION FOR JOLIE

Add Julianne Moore to those who are commending Angelina Jolie for her decision to reveal her choice to have a double mastectomy.

"I think that I'm very impressed. I'm impressed with her and I'm impressed with her announcement particularly because I feel there are so many women who are facing the same kind of choice, and it's a way to kind of validate and have solidarity with women who are having the same issue," Moore said in an interview from Cannes on Wednesday.

"It's obviously a really, really complicated (decision), and so I think her decision to go public about something like that can only help other women."

Jolie announced this week that she had her breasts removed recently because she had a very high chance of developing breast and ovarian cancer. Jolie has since had reconstructive surgery. Jolie's mother had breast cancer and died of ovarian cancer, while her grandmother suffered from ovarian cancer.

—Nekesa Mumbi Moody, Twitter: http://Twitter.com/nekesamumbi

CUISINE GETS A STARRING ROLE AT CANNES:

The chefs who prepared the dinner for the Cannes Film Festival's opening gala were as starry as the guests.

Anne Sophie Pic, who is a three-star Michelin chef, and Bruno Oger, who has two, collaborated for the four-course meal after the festival's opening night film of "The Great Gatsby" on Wednesday night. Guests were treated to a menu that included King crab with shrimp and sea bass with rhubarb and celery. Select media were given a preview on Tuesday.

Pic and Oger will join other chefs during the festival at the Electrolux Agora Pavillion to ensure VIPs get top cuisine in the resort town.

—Nekesa Mumbi Moody, Twitter: http://Twitter.com/nekesamumbi

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