'Everybody Loves Raymond' Creator Phil Rosenthal: Why I Was Afraid of Russia

The comedy series' creator is hitting theaters in a new documentary, "Exporting Raymond," which centers on his attempt to adapt the format overseas.

When Everybody Loves Raymond creator Phil Rosenthal set out to adapt the show's format in Russia, he was initially excited.

That is, until a friend of him warned that he needed to take out "K&R insurance."

"I said, 'What's K and R insurance?' He said, 'kidnap and ransom.' I said, 'Oh that's very interesting. I'm not going,'" Rosenthal told the Huffington Post.

But executives at the show's production company, Sony Pictures TV, told him not to worry because "that never happens."

"I said, 'It happens enough for there to be an abbreviation,'" Rosenthal said. "So they got me a security man/driver to make me feel safer over there, and I did feel safer with Eldar. I even told Eldar one day, 'I'm glad you're with me, Eldar, I feel safer with you.' And Eldar said, looking around, 'Mr. Rosenthal, I have to tell you. Sony did not go for the gun package.'"

But once he got there, he realized that the entertainment industry is the same no matter where you're pitching ideas.

"The 'no' you get creatively is the same in every language," Rosenthal said. "Just change the accent. And the drink you have after."

Rosenthal chronicles his attempts to adapt the U.S. sitcom for Russian television in Exporting Raymond, a documentary opening in theaters Friday. He said moviegoers will see a lot of him in the doc. [Read The Hollywood Reporter's review here and watch the trailer above.]

Asked who should go see the movie, he replied: "People with eyes, but I wouldn't advise having terrific eyesight because I'm on camera a lot. So maybe squint a little and pretend I'm like a Jewish Clooney."