Cannes set to ditch austerity with "Great Gatsby" launch
* "The Great Gatsby" offers chance of lavish launch
* Cannes film festival has grown closer to Hollywood
* Spielberg heads jury that includes Nicole Kidman
By Belinda Goldsmith
CANNES, France, May 15 (Reuters) - The Cannes film festival may get some of its swagger back on Wednesday when it opens with Baz Luhrmann's lavish 3D period drama "The Great Gatsby", an opportunity to shed the caution of recent years overshadowed by broader economic gloom.
Leonardo DiCaprio and his British co-star Carey Mulligan will walk the red carpet on the French Riviera to promote the $105 million adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel which has already opened in North America.
Over 12 days of world premieres, champagne parties and sun- and celebrity worship, Michael Douglas, Matt Damon, Ryan Gosling, Emma Watson and Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan are among the big names in town promoting their latest pictures.
Festival veterans are eager to see if Luhrmann can top his opening in 2001, viewed as the last truly extravagant launch on the palm-lined Croisette waterfront, when he filled the red carpet with can-can girls to promote his movie "Moulin Rouge".
"For a few years the mood at Cannes was a bit more subdued but the economy has picked up a bit and business is good so people are expecting a big opening," said Wendy Mitchell, editor of trade magazine Screen International. Continued...