STORY WRITTEN BY DAVID KLEINMAN
For 21st Century Media
After an illustrious thirty-year career portraying the visions of writers, directors and photographers, Isabella Rossellini is bringing her own unique concept to the Philadelphia stage.
While simultaneously earning her master’s degree in Animal Behavior at Hunter College, Rossellini has spent the last six years creating and is now ready to take the show on the road.
“I was born liking animals and I always wanted to make films of animals. Only later, as I became older and not working as a model anymore and working very little as an actress, have I finally found the time to sit down and write.”
Rossellini stars, directs and writes “Green Porno,” a YouTube series turned Sundance Channel show that utilizes bold humor and elaborate costume to teach viewers about the mating habits of all types of species of animals.
“If I’d done a series of films on the digestive system it wouldn’t of been as interesting,” Rossellini said. “It might be interesting to me because of the animals but sex is an angle everyone is interested in. It’s also interesting to make jokes with sex so I wanted it to be comical, that’s why we picked it.”
Most recently “Green Porno” has taken on the incarnation of a monologue highlighting 65 animals during her 70-minute set, an opportunity Rossellini cherishes to better articulate to the audience what it is that’s so fascinating to her. When it comes to naming a favorite animal she covers during her performance, it proves to be an impossible task.
“All of them are fantastic and the great thing is the diversity. Hermaphrodites, sequential hermaphrodites, particular to genetics, animals that have sex. We’re talking about how to reproduce, how to better populate the species and how many solutions to do one problem. The bigger the diversity the better it feeds my work,” Rossellini said.
The platform Rossellini reaches from her careers as a supermodel and film actress allow her to present “Green Porno” to the masses. Rossellini says she doesn’t experience many of the fallacies of a familiar face trying her hand at a new aspiration but occasionally a few audience members will be surprised.
“I remember meeting two ladies who said ‘Oh, we came because we love your work at Lancôme. We were quite surprised, we didn’t know we would be seeing happy animal films,’ she said. “Most of the time there’s a few members of the audience waiting for me backstage and they seem to know my work from ads and films but I don’t know that I’m a movie star, I don’t know that I’m so big and famous.”
As Rossellini and her contemporaries discussed in the recent HBO documentary “About Face: Supermodels Then & Now,” one’s modeling career is normally quite brief. When reminded of her 28 Vogue cover magazines, Rossellini continues to show humility.
“When I was on the cover of Vogue it was 1982 so that’s many years ago,” she warmly laughed from her home in New York City. “I was delighted to be a model, it was one of those careers that I loved and I’m sorry that isn’t available when people are in their 60’s. Occasionally a glam photo shoot, it’s very rarely but you know, people evolve.
Not just as a model, some of them have become architects, some of them run hotels, some of them are just housewives. So you know, modeling is a career that generally ends. When it’s done most of us move onto other careers.”
As for Rossellini’s own career, post-graduate life is still a mystery but it’s for certain she’ll be continuing to entertain and educate with “Green Porno” in one expression or another. Her lifelong interest in animals may serve as a surprise to some of her admirers but to those who know Rossellini best, it’s obvious “Green Porno” was only a matter of time.
“Somebody interviewed my sister Pia and she said ‘We all knew Isabella loved animals and that’s her interest. She likes to laugh.’ To them it makes total sense and it’s true. My family is not at all surprised by my film and they all seem to like it. I’m sure my mom [Ingrid Bergman] would of liked it too, my family are all big animal lovers.”
IF YOU GO
What: “Green Porno”
Where: World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St., Philadelphia.
When: At 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 14.
Tickets: $37.50. Event is all ages, check here.
Info.: Check www.worldcafelive.com or call (215) 222-1400.