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Arts and Entertainment

TV Junkie Interview: Isabella Rossellini brings us more 'Green Porno'

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Cinema icon Isabella Rossellini has long been involved with wildlife preservation as a board member the Wildlife Conservation Network and president and director of the Howard Gilman Foundation, a leading institution focused on the preservation of wildlife, arts, photography and dance. In 2008 Rossellini brought this love of wildlife to television by creating the "Green Porno" series of minidocumentaries to the Sundance Channel. These 2-5 minute segments, now available with an accompanying book, illustrate the courtship and mating rituals of species ranging from the housefly to the cuttlefish with Rossellini costumed as one of the creatures and actively describing the sex acts as they occur.

Rossellini researches the insects, animals, and fish, writes the stories, and performs in each segment. The third season of "Green Porno", titled "Seduce Me" (see the above promo), began hitting the Sundance Channel website a few weeks ago with the final five going online today. We had a chance to talk to Rossellini about the creative process of bringing "Green Porno" to television as well as her upcoming film projects.

LAist: I'm very excited to speak to you as I've been a huge fan of your work for many years. I've also really loved the "Green Porno" series you've been doing for Sundance. I understand that you've done another set of them.

Isabella Rossellini: Yes, in this installment there are ten new ones called "Seduce Me". Five of them have [already] come out and five more will come out on November 23rd on the Internet, and on December 8th they appear on television on the Sundance Channel.

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LAist: In this set of ten, was there one that you most looked forward to doing?

Isabella Rossellini: Not really because when you write you don't try to write just one thing that is good and then for the rest.... not so good [laughs]. These are all about five minutes so we try to write a complete story that illustrates the diversity in courtship. I generally make the decision by researching the courtship of different species. Then I decide which exact species would be best for the piece. We make sure we understand the science so that we can extrapolate a costume and put together a story we can follow.

I don't do about it by deciding which animal I like the most and then doing three or four more that I con't care about.

LAist: It's been fun watching you take the "Green Porno" segments onto David Letterman's show because you get some great reactions from him.

Isabella Rossellini: [Laughs] He is a comedian you know! Jon Stewart also did a very funny piece as well with my bed bugs [segment]which was so funny because everyone in New York is plagued by the - which is actually quite terrible, of course.


Isabella Rossellini in a previous edition of her "Green Porno" series for the Sundance Channel. Rossellini is launching a new collection of humorous and educational videos titles "Seduce Me"
LAist: You've done many of these for Sundance at this point, haven't you?Isabella Rossellini: We've done twenty-eight in about three or four installments.

LAist: Sundance, obviously, really likes you doing these as I don't think Sundance has done 28 of anything else. Does this mean future collaboration with them on this or other projects?

Isabella Rossellini: Right now, I don't know. I think the channel would like to see how these are received. Of course, I would like very much to do more but I think they want to understand, first, how this goes and then we'll take it from there.

LAist: What else can we look forward to seeing you in soon?

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Isabella Rossellini: I've [recently] done some films as an actress, most of them are European. I've worked with a very nice director, Marjane Satrapi, who is known in America for her animated film, Persepolis, which was nominated for an Oscar. Her new film, Chicken With Plums, was done with live actors. We just finished shooting so she's editing now.

Then I worked with a French director [Julie Gavras] on a British film with William Hurt. The film is tentatively called Late Bloomers, but they're looking at other titles. That film should come out in 2011. So is Children With Plums.

Then I did another film with Guy Maddin [The Saddest Music in the World], a director with whom I have worked with a lot, he's a very avant-garde director from Canada. That project is called Keyhole. These three films will come out sometime in 2011 but more "Green Porno" comes out next week.


Isabella Rossellini's most recent "Green Porno" installment, "Seduce Me", hits the Sundance Channel website today and will be broadcast on December 8, 2010.