Kevin Hart's Northern Ireland based movie released on Netflix
Image: courtesy

The new Kevin Hart movie Lift, filmed largely in Northern Ireland, has been released on Netflix.

The US comedian spent a few months based just outside Belfast, at the Culloden Hotel, last year.

During his stay, he performed a number of gigs in the city - some of which were a surprise - at the Limelight venue and Lavery's bar.

Lift is the second Netflix film to be shot in Northern Ireland following The School for Good and Evil in 2021.

It was filmed in Harbour Studios and on location across Northern Ireland, with support from Northern Ireland Screen.

Ulster University, Titanic Hotel, the Crown Liquor Saloon and Riddel's Warehouse in Belfast, Castle Ward near Strangford, Shackleton Barracks in Ballykelly, Ward Park in Bangor, Whitehead railway station and Ardglass harbour were among the locations used.

Directed by F Gary Gray, Lift sees an international heist crew, led by Kevin Hart's character Cyrus Whitaker, try to take $500m (£393m) in gold from a passenger plane before it ends up in the wrong handChief executive of Northern Ireland Screen Richard Williams said: "The dedication and craftmanship of the local crew complemented the work of global players Kevin Hart and F Gary Gray to bring this eagerly anticipated film to life."

Last year the UK government said that screen productions in Northern Ireland have directly contributed more than £330m to the local economy since 2018.

Belfast comedy sets

While filming in Belfast, Philadelphia native Hart did a number of comedy shows in venues around the city.

Speaking to the BBC's Good Morning Ulster Programme, local comedian Paddy McDonnell told the story of how this came about.

"I do know that he did think about doing a comedy set in Belfast because he had never done it and went down and watched comedy incognito and then [said], 'Maybe we'll approach these guys and do one without telling the audience' - and that's exactly what happened."

Hart made his surprise appearance in Lavery's on St Patrick's Day 2022 and went on to perform at other venues including the Limelight and the SSE arena.

Mr Williams told the programme that the fact that Hart apparently had a good time while in Belfast would be good for Northern Ireland's entertainment industry.

"The development of a cultural scene, of a creative industry scene, is all about word of mouth. It's all about reputation; it's all about what people say about it."