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Posted at 11:21 AM ET, 11/23/2010

Q&A: Isabella Rossellini on the return of 'Green Porno'

By Liz Kelly

Isabella Rossellini, Golden Globe-winning star of stage and screen and daughter of film legend Ingrid Bergman and Italian director Roberto Rossellini, may end up being forever known as the "bed bug sex" lady.

That's because one of Rossellini's "Green Pornos" -- a series of short films she launched in 2008 in which she dramatizes the sex lives of insects and animals -- went viral on the Internet. Why? A well-timed look at bed-bug mating rituals coincided with the resurgence of the insects in the U.S. and was even aired on Jon Stewart's "Daily Show."

Rossellini is back with more "Green Porno" in a new group of shorts called "Seduce Me." This time around, Rossellini takes on the carnal cravings of deer, dolphins, seahorses, spiders and some critters -- like earthworms, fish and geese -- that are variously homosexual, transsexual or asexual.

When I talked to her Friday, Rossellini was particularly proud of the series's new-found diversity.

"They thought it was abhorrant behavior before," Rossellini said, referring to non-heterosexual behavior in animals. "But now that we -- people -- accept more same partner sex and relationships, we're looking at the animals with a different eye. And that's how I made this little series."

You can catch "Green Porno: Seduce Me" starting Dec. 8 on the Sundance channel or online now at sundancechannel/greenporno.

More from our Q&A after the jump...

You approached things a bit differently this time, looking at some animals who are not always heterosexual. How'd you end up going there?

Isabella Rossellini: Sundance wanted another series similar to "Green Porno," but wanted it to be a little different because of advertisers. We couldn't use words like "porno" so we thought to do a new series called "Seduce Me" in which we explain how the animals do their courtship.

We did have some animals who are same-sex and some who change sex. Sundance has a new series launching called "Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys," so they wanted us to start a subject on same-sex partners.

I looked into it. I knew there were a lot of hermaphroditic animals and a lot that don't change sex. Or females that don't have males. Also there are a lot of fish that are born male and become female.

There was an article that came out in the NYT about homosexuality in Canadian geese. Occasionally, some female geese create a nest with a fellow female. You know there are two mothers taking care of the eggs because of the amount of eggs in the nest. Same thing with penguins in Central Park.

It wasn't discussed before. They thought it was abhorrant behavior before, but now that we -- people -- accept more same partner sex and relationships, we're looking at the animals with a different eye. And that's how I made this little series.

Do you do your own research?

Isabella Rossellini: Yes, I do. The films have been quite successful I have made friends with many scientists and one co-wrote "Seduce Me" with me. John Bohannon -- he became a fan and little by little it grew into a collaboration.

Would you recommend "Seduce Me" to kids?

Isabella Rossellini: I think they're very small and don't understand it yet. I know teenagers are watching it. My [17-year-old] son is particularly proud of this work. He and all his friends are watching it. And at Sundance it's a very young audience coming to see it.

What animal do you long to portray, but haven't yet?

Isabella Rossellini: We've done 28 of [the shorts]. If anything I'm struggling to find a new story that doesn't repeat what we've already done. It's also how to come up with the idea of translating all of this scientific wording into something that is visually funny. We've done more than we ever thought we would.

The bed bug episode went viral. Google your name and the search box suggests "Bed Bugs" -- are you concerned that this will be THE thing about you that sticks?

Isabella Rossellini: The Internet is never lasting.

Some slightly NSFW language and imagery...

By Liz Kelly  | November 23, 2010; 11:21 AM ET
Categories:  Catching Up With..., Celebrities  | Tags:  Isabella Rossellini  
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