Isabella Rossellini has established herself as the world's most prominent porn artist specializing in the lusty behavior of bugs, barnacles, shrimp and starfish.
Her "Green Porno" short films have become a Web sensation, offering morsels about the reproductive habits of insects and ocean life and a clever dose of low-budget filmmaking that takes its cue from old-fashioned arts and crafts classes.
The films written and co-directed by Rossellini feature the actress offering wry narration about how she would mate if she were a dragonfly or squid or anchovy. Rossellini appears in costumes mostly made of paper, staring in bemusement at the camera as she shows off makeshift versions of some of the species' gargantuan sexual apparatus.
The do-it-yourself style had two aims: To make the best use of the small budgets she had to make the films, and to create something simple enough to make for good viewing on the tiny screens of cell phones and other portable devices.
"We couldn't photograph real sets, because there's too many colors, too many things going, so it had to be almost two-dimensional, cartoon-looking," Rossellini, 57, said in an interview at the Toronto International Film Festival, where a selection of new "Green Porno" films premiered Friday.
"I think there is a quality of naivete about it. I did want 'Green Porno' deliberately to look like something that was done in your basement, that looked like it didn't have a production behind it."
The third and final season of "Green Porno" launches online on Monday. The films then have their TV premiere on the Sundance Channel on Sept. 21, with a "Green Porno" book accompanied by a DVD of the short films due out the next day from News Corp.'s Harper Collins.
"Green Porno" got its start as Sundance Institute founder Robert Redford was querying artists and filmmakers about creating content specifically for the Internet.
A bird watcher and insect enthusiast, Rossellini was keen to do something on nature but wanted a hook to really draw viewers' attention.
"I wanted to talk about animals, but I know that a lot of people aren't interested in animals. But everybody's interested in sex, so I thought I could do the sex life of animals," said Rossellini, whose films include "Blue Velvet," "Wild at Heart" and "Fearless."
The results are far out compared to nature documentaries you might see on Animal Planet. But Rossellini was aiming more to amuse than educate.
"What was interesting was how many ways there are in nature, the diversity, and how many ways there were to reproduce. But it wasn't at all meant as a lesson," Rossellini said. "I wanted to have two reactions. I wanted people to laugh, but also, I wanted people to say after, `Oh, I didn't know that.' I don't see myself as a teacher or someone who has something to teach. I just wanted to entertain."