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daniel radcliffe david holmes.png

Daniel Radcliffe Is Producing A Documentary About His 'Harry Potter' Stunt Double

By Emily Richardson | Film | October 25, 2023 |

By Emily Richardson | Film | October 25, 2023 |


daniel radcliffe david holmes.png

Daniel Radcliffe is producing an HBO original documentary titled David Holmes: The Boy Who Lived. The official synopsis describes the doc as a “coming-of-age story” about Daniel’s Harry Potter stunt double, David Holmes. David, a former teen gymnast, worked on the Harry Potter movies for ten years before he broke his neck on the set of Deathly Hallows Part 1. Since then, David has been paralyzed from the chest down.

In 2014, David shared details about his 2009 injury. He was rehearsing a “jerk back” stunt, in which a high-strength wire pulls the performer backward through the air. It’s meant to replicate the effects of an explosion. Unfortunately, when David was yanked back, he collided with a wall and broke his neck:

“I hit the wall and then landed on the crash mat underneath. My stunt co-ordinator grabbed my hand and said, ‘Squeeze my fingers’. I could move my arm to grab his hand but I couldn’t squeeze his fingers.

“I looked into his eyes and that’s when I realised what happened was major. I remember slipping in and out of consciousness because of the pain levels. I’d broken a bone before, so recognising that weird feeling across my whole body from my fingertips right down to my toes, I knew I had really done some damage.”

David was rushed to the local hospital and then transferred to the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital, where he stayed for six months. It was there that David discovered he was paralyzed from the chest down and would have limited movements in his arms and hands.

David was regularly visited by Daniel and Draco Malfoy actor Tom Felton. Daniel even held a charity auction and dinner to help raise money for David’s medical bills. The documentary will follow “candid personal footage shot over the last decade, behind-the-scenes material from Holmes’s stunt work, scenes of his current life and intimate interviews with David, Radcliffe, friends, family, and former crew”.

In 2020, Daniel and David launched a podcast called Cunning Stunts. At the time, Daniel said:

“I think there’s a myth around stuntmen that they are just superhuman in some way. When the public see something really painful or horrible, they think it was a visual effect or that there’s some clever, safe way of doing it. Often that’s not the case. There’s no way of faking, for example, falling down stairs. When you get hit by a car, you’re still getting hit by a car, even if it’s going slower than it would. They find the safest way of doing it, but it can still hurt.”

Yesterday, David posted about the doc on his Instagram:

David Holmes: The Boy Who Lived debuts November 15 on HBO.