Green Porno

6 questions with “GREEN PORNO” star Isabella Rossellini

Isabella Rossellini, the director, writer, and star of GREEN PORNO, is taking her acclaimed web series around the world with her one-woman show “Green Porno: Live on Stage“ – with a script from legendary screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière (The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, The Unbearable Lightness of Being) and artistic guidance from Muriel Mayette. Rossellini talks about adapting the series for a live audience and just what makes animals’ sex lives so interesting.

Q: What aspect of GREEN PORNO have you brought to the stage? Did you have any hesitation about bringing the content in front of a live audience?

A: All these people ask me, “What do you do? Do you wear the costumes? How do you transport them?” But I am not performing sex. I am not putting on the costumes. [The stage show] is more like me being a professor giving a lecture and then the lecture is comical. It’s mostly a monologue.

Q: And you’ve taken the stage show all over the world…

A: We did two weeks at BAM [in New York], and now I’m back in Europe. I toured in Australia, France and Switzerland—so I did it in French and now I’m taking it in English to Toronto. The reaction has been fantastic.

Q: Do certain cultures connect with certain animals and/or insects? Are the reactions really different from country to country?

A: There’s no difference. I’m trying to select countries where English, Italian or French, the languages I speak, are familiar because I don’t think that comical text plus content based on science are easy to follow if you’re having to read subtitles.

Q: Did you know starting GREEN PORNO that there would be such a universal appeal to what you’re doing?

A: Projects don’t come about that way. You don’t sit down and say, “I know the world, and this is what the world wants.” [Laughs] We started with the short films and they became very popular, and then a friend of mine who’s an actress in France said you can make a monologue out of it for the theater and it’ll be great. But I didn’t know how to write a monologue—I know how to write a two-minute film. So she put me in touch with a very well-known writer in France, a sort of Hemingway who everybody adores, Jean-Claude Carrière. And then we had a wonderful director, Muriel Mayette. I write something that is interesting to me and then I delegate and find people to distribute it and to guide me.

Q: Many of the mating habits can be rather disturbing. Why do you think they’re so easy to laugh at?

A: I wanted to write something that was entertaining. I didn’t want them to be like a National Geographic documentary, so I’m always happy that people laugh at them because that was the intention. But of course I know people are squeamish about sex, and we talked about sex instead of digestive systems because we knew that people were more interested naturally in sex than in digestive systems.

Q: What’s been the most rewarding part of this process?

A: It’s been rewarding to start something that was a little experiment on web content, and now I’ve written a book and am touring worldwide in 45 cities. I’ve written a monologue and I’ve written with a great writer and [worked with] a wonderful director, Muriel Mayette—who’s the director of the ComĂ©die-Française, which is like Lincoln Center. She’s the first woman to direct that major theater since it opened in the 1600s. So this idea has created not only an audience, but also the opportunity to work with so much talent. That has been so fantastic.

Want more Isabella Rossellini? Check out the trailer for “Green Porno: Live on Stage.”