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Jay-Z to put modern jazz twist on Gatsby soundtrack

Jay-Z poses with the awards he won for Best Rap Performance, Best Rap/Sung Collaboration and Best Rap Song backstage at the 55th annual Gram
Jay-Z poses with the awards he won for Best Rap Performance, Best Rap/Sung Collaboration and Best Rap Song backstage at the 55th annual Gram

LONDON (Reuters) - Rapper Jay-Z has teamed up with Australian director Baz Luhrmann to produce and perform on the soundtrack for "The Great Gatsby" which will open the 2013 Cannes film festival in May.

Jay-Z said he would join some of the world's top musical artists on the soundtrack which would bring modern "jazz age" energy to the latest film version of F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel of 1920s America.

The hip-hop entrepreneur said he was introduced to Luhrmann by Leonardo DiCaprio who plays the lead role of the mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby in the movie and this led to a two-year collaboration.

"As soon as I spoke with Baz and Leonardo, I knew this was the right project," Jay-Z said in a statement.

"'The Great Gatsby' is that classic American story of one's introduction to extravagance, decadence and illusion. It's ripe for experimentation and ready to be interpreted with a modern twist."

Jay-Z will be executive producer of the soundtrack and contribute some newly written songs to the score by composer Craig Armstrong, who worked with Luhrmann on his previous films "Moulin Rouge!" and "Romeo + Juliet".

The soundtrack of the film, which opens on May 10, will be released by Interscope Records.

Luhrmann's adaptation of Fitzgerald's account of "Roaring Twenties" America will open the Cannes film festival, the world's most important cinema showcase, with DiCaprio appearing at the event for the first time since 2007.

Organizers this week said the opening gala, preceded by a glitzy red carpet fashion parade and followed by parties along the palm-lined Riviera, will also be attended by Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan and Jay-Z.

Luhrmann's first film "Strictly Ballroom" was screened at Cannes 21 years ago.

DiCaprio plays Jay Gatsby in the 3D movie, Carey Mulligan takes the role of Daisy Buchanan and Tobey Maguire is Nick Carraway, the narrator.

The festival runs from May 15 to 26 and U.S. director Steven Spielberg is head of this year's jury.

(Reporting by Belinda Goldsmith)

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