Daniel Radcliffe Produces Documentary on Paralyzed Harry Potter Stunt Double

harry potter

Daniel Radcliffe Produces Documentary on Paralyzed Harry Potter Stunt Double

Daniel Radcliffe is stepping behind the camera to tell a powerful story within the magical world of Harry Potter. His subject? David Holmes, the unheralded hero who served as Radcliffe’s stunt double throughout most of the film series.

Holmes’ story is one of triumph and tragedy. A talented gymnast, he landed the coveted role of Radcliffe’s stunt double at a young age. Over a decade, the two formed a close bond, working side-by-side to bring the magic of Harry Potter to life. Audiences saw Radcliffe soar on a broomstick and duel with Voldemort, but it was Holmes taking the real risks behind the scenes.

Tragedy struck during the filming of the final instalments at Leavesden Warner Bros. Studios, one of the primary studios for the Harry Potter films.

While rehearsing a scene for “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1,” a stunt went wrong. Holmes suffered a left with a broken neck when he was jerked backwards “at speed” during a scene that mimicked an explosion.

Holmes was immediately rushed to Watford General Hospital before being transferred to the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in Stanmore where he stayed for a further six months.

Doctors informed him that he was paralysed from the chest down, with limited movement in his hands and arms.

Speaking about the horrific incident, Holmes previously told the Mirror: “I hit the wall and then landed on the crash mat underneath. My stunt coordinator 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.”

“The film is a coming-of-age story of stuntman David Holmes, a prodigious teenage gymnast from Essex, England, who is selected to play Daniel Radcliffe’s stunt double in the first Harry Potter film, when Daniel is just eleven. 

The documentary, titled “David Holmes: The Boy Who Lived,” goes beyond the on-set accident. It delves into Holmes’ journey of resilience and adaptation. We see how he rebuilt his life, becoming an advocate for stunt performers and fostering a remarkable friendship with Radcliffe.

This isn’t just a story about the dangers of movie magic; it’s a testament to the human spirit. It explores the deep bonds forged on set and the unwavering support that can emerge from tragedy. “David Holmes: The Boy Who Lived” promises to be a moving tribute to the unseen heroes who bring our favourite films to life.

“Being a stuntman was my calling in life, and doubling Harry was the best job in the world. In January 2009, I had a stunt rehearsal accident that changed my life forever,” he wrote. “This film tells the story of not just my achievements in front of camera, but also the challenges I face every day, and my overall attitude to life after suffering a broken neck.”

The Documentary can be watched on Sky Documentaries and HBO channels.

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