Though it's not scheduled for release for another several months, Phil Rosenthal's "Exporting Raymond," depicting the "Everybody Loves Raymond" co-creator's efforts to help adapt the series for Russian audiences, is already gathering buzz. Days after its public premiere at the Austin Film Festival, "Exporting Raymond" has been acquired for U.S. distribution by Samuel Goldwyn Films.
In his directorial debut, Rosenthal gets a new set of laughs in showing the challenge of reinventing "Raymond" in Russia. John Woldenberg ("The Visitor") exec produced, with Jim Czarnicki ("Fahrenheit 9/11") producing. Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions is handling ancillary rights. U.S. audiences can expect to see the doc in Spring 2011.
“Phil has done a terrific job capturing a pulp culture phenomenon that his fans, fans of the show and anyone looking to laugh out loud will enjoy," Samuel Goldwyn Films prexy Meyer Gottlieb said. "We are thrilled to be in business with him, John and Sony.”
Quipped Rosenthal: “I'm very excited that Samuel Goldwyn is releasing my movie. Goldwyn was always my favorite part of 'MGM.' 'Metro' sounded very corporate, but 'Goldwyn' sounded warm and Jewish but not too Jewish, like Mayer. They have a history of working with great, wonderful, beautiful people, and I'm lucky they're making an exception in my case.”
The humor in "Exporting Raymond" comes from many directions, from the hopelessly unguarded appearances of Rosenthal’s real-life parents (who inspired the original series’ Frank and Marie Barone, played by Peter Boyle and Doris Roberts), to the painstaking effort Rosenthal has to make to convince the writers and actors on the Russian ‘Raymond’ that the show they’re adapting was actually funny.
Below, some bits from “The Voronins”
And a chunk of the "Everybody Loves Raymond" episode on which it was based: