Daniel Radcliffe and his Harry Potter stunt double, who was left paralyzed by an on-set accident, have joined forces for an HBO documentary.
David Holmes and Radcliffe collaborated on the Harry Potter movies until Holmes suffered a spinal injury while filming The Deathly Hallows: Part 1 in January 2009. The gymnast from Essex, who was chosen to be Radcliffe’s stunt double in the first film, fractured his neck and became paralyzed from the chest down.
The upcoming film, called David Holmes: The Boy Who Lived, is produced by Radcliffe and will premiere in November. It will include unfiltered personal videos filmed over the past ten years, behind-the-scenes footage of Holmes’ stunts, glimpses into his current life, and intimate conversations with Holmes, Radcliffe, and other individuals.
According to the official synopsis from HBO, the movie tells the story of David Holmes, a talented young gymnast from Essex, England, who is chosen to be the stunt double for Daniel Radcliffe in the first “Harry Potter” film when Daniel is only 11 years old. It is a tale of coming-of-age for David as a stuntman.
In the following decade, the two individuals develop a strong connection that cannot be separated. However, during the second to last movie, a devastating incident occurs on set that results in David becoming paralyzed from a serious spinal injury. This completely changes his life. As Daniel and his fellow stunt performers come together to offer support to David and his loved ones during this difficult time, it is David’s remarkable determination and strength that becomes their main source of courage and motivation.
HBO announced that the movie, helmed by British director Dan Hartley, explores themes of facing challenges, coming of age, and defining oneself in a world full of uncertainty.
Holmes, currently 42 years old, has previously shared information about his devastating injury that happened while filming a flying scene at Warner Bros Studios in Leavesden.
In 2014, during an interview with the Mirror, he revealed that he experienced a dangerous incident while performing a stunt. He was forcefully pulled backwards by a sturdy wire, simulating the impact of an explosion. Unfortunately, the momentum caused him to collide with a wall and suffer a broken neck.
He claims that the recent HBO documentary shares not only his successes on screen, “but also the obstacles I encounter each day and my overall outlook on life following a neck injury.”
“In the current chaotic world, I would like to share a quote from Harry: ‘We are strongest when united, but weakest when divided.'”
Holmes expressed his gratitude to the medical team, Radcliffe, and JK Rowling for their support. In regards to Radcliffe, he shared that they both take great pride in their experience working on the Harry Potter movies and the joy it brings to viewers globally on a regular basis.
Radcliffe and Holmes have worked together before, even after the Harry Potter movies. In 2020, they teamed up to create Holmes’ Cunning Stunts podcast, where they talk to other stunt performers in Hollywood.
During the podcast, Radcliffe discussed the misconception that stuntmen possess superhuman abilities. He explained that when people witness a dangerous or gruesome stunt, they tend to assume it was achieved through special effects or a safe method. In reality, this is often not the case.
It is impossible to fabricate a fall down stairs or being hit by a car. Even if the car is moving at a slower speed, the impact is still real. The safety precautions may minimize the harm, but there is still potential for injury.