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Forget 'Blue Velvet,' Rossellini Tries 'Green Porno'

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Forget 'Blue Velvet,' Rossellini Tries 'Green Porno'

Digital Life

Forget 'Blue Velvet,' Rossellini Tries 'Green Porno'

Forget 'Blue Velvet,' Rossellini Tries 'Green Porno'

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/102750943/102752569" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Isabella Rossellini as a limpet. Courtesy Sundancechannel.com hide caption

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Courtesy Sundancechannel.com

Isabella Rossellini as a limpet.

Courtesy Sundancechannel.com

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'Different Penises'

'If I Were A Limpet'

'If I Were A Starfish'

On Sundancechannel.com

That's not a starfish, it's a movie star. Isabella Rossellini's latest project is not exactly what you'd expect from the icon of Blue Velvet. It's a series of short Web films about the sex lives of sea creatures and backyard bugs, and the second season premiered this week on the Sundance Channel Web site. The title? Good luck plugging this into your search engine: Green Porno.

"I've always been interested in animal behavior," Rossellini says. "But I know most people are interested not in animal behavior, but in sex. So I thought, well, if I tell how these animals, which are not mammals, reproduce, it'll be fun."

Despite the title, there's nothing overtly environmental about her show. There's no call to save the sea creatures or the insects. Rossellini says that was deliberate.

"I never really want to preach," she says. She's grown weary of the constant alarms sounding the end of the world, she adds. "I find myself to be turned off, so I thought that maybe a comical approach was going to be better."

"I would like for people to laugh, and then to say, 'Oh, I didn't know that about an animal,'" Rossellini says. Maybe they'll even fall in love with the animal kingdom, she says, "and then feel the urge to protect it."

In the series, Rossellini dresses up like the animal she's introducing — and then acts out their method of reproduction. The effect could be described anything from fanciful to outrageous. Rossellini says she was inspired by silent movies like those of Georges Melies, Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton.

"They are timeless, and yet the special effects are homemade," Rossellini says. Homemade suited the series' low budget, so she and the show's designers decided to create all the sets and costumes from paper.

The simple colors and designs also play well for videos that are seen primarily online. "It was important for us to have very bright colors and very few colors, because if you download a film like Gone With the Wind or Lawrence of Arabia, it's ridiculous to look at them in your cellular phone," Rossellini says. "But if you look at animation, it is the same to see it in a small screen or in a big screen or in television. So we decided we needed to address a new aesthetic: the cell."

But there's nothing small about some of the animals' paper appendages. Apart from making the videos at least PG-13, Rossellini doesn't think the graphic depictions of the reproductive process are offensive. "I don't say any curse words," she says. "I describe with the same words that you might hear on National Geographic. "

"But there is really nothing pornographic."