Daniel Radcliffe’s ‘Harry Potter’ Stunt Double Was Paralyzed After ‘Deathly Hallows’ Set Accident — Now They’ve Teamed Up for a Doc to Tell His Story

Daniel Radcliffe’s ‘Harry Potter’ Stunt Double Was Paralyzed After ‘Deathly Hallows’ Set Accident — Now They’ve Teamed Up for a Doc to Tell His Story
Photo by Sindre Aalberg / Unsplash

In an upcoming HBO documentary, Daniel Radcliffe shares the harrowing and inspiring story of his ‘Harry Potter’ stunt double, David Holmes, who was tragically paralyzed following a set accident during the filming of “Deathly Hallows Part 1.” Radcliffe has stepped into the role of executive producer and is also prominently featured in the film as an interview subject. The documentary, titled “David Holmes: The Boy Who Lived,” is set to premiere this November.

David Holmes, a former prodigious teenage gymnast from Essex, England, had a career-defining moment when he was selected to be Radcliffe’s stunt double for the “Harry Potter” series. The two worked closely together, starting from “Sorcerer’s Stone” all the way through to “Deathly Hallows Part 1.” However, their journey took a tragic turn when Holmes suffered a catastrophic injury on set, resulting in paralysis from the chest down.

The official synopsis for the documentary from HBO details the journey of Holmes, highlighting the decade-long bond between him and Radcliffe. “The Boy Who Lived” is described as a coming-of-age story that explores Holmes’ life before and after the accident, delving into themes of resilience, friendship, and the strength that comes from adversity. Viewers can expect to see candid personal footage, behind-the-scenes material from Holmes’ stunt work, scenes of his current life, and intimate interviews with Holmes, Radcliffe, their families, friends, and former crew members.

Speaking about the project, Radcliffe expressed his admiration for stunt performers and the need for greater awareness and understanding of the risks they take. “I think there’s a myth around stuntmen that they are just superhuman in some way,” he said, highlighting the physical toll of stunt work and the courage it requires.

“David Holmes: The Boy Who Lived” is directed by Dan Hartley, known for his work on “Lad: A Yorkshire Story.” The documentary is a production by HBO Documentary Films in collaboration with Sky and Lightbox / Ripple. The producer roster includes industry veterans such as Simon Chinn, Jonathan Chinn, Vanessa Davies, and Amy Stares. Alongside Radcliffe, the executive producers include Holmes himself, Hartley, Sue Latimer, Sarah Spahovic, with HBO’s Nancy Abraham, Lisa Heller, Tina Nguyen, and Sky’s Poppy Dixon also serving as executive producers.

This documentary marks another collaboration between Radcliffe and Holmes following their “Harry Potter” days. In 2020, amidst the global pandemic, the duo launched the “Cunning Stunts” podcast, providing a platform to highlight and celebrate the work of stunt performers across the industry.

“David Holmes: The Boy Who Lived” promises to be a touching and insightful exploration of Holmes’ life, the challenges he has faced, and the unbreakable bond he shares with Radcliffe. The documentary is slated to debut on Wednesday, Nov. 15 at 9 p.m. ET on HBO and will also be available for streaming on HBO Max.

This story serves as a testament to the resilience of the human spirit, the importance of friendship, and the often-overlooked sacrifices made by stunt performers in the entertainment industry. Radcliffe and Holmes' journey together continues, as they use this documentary to share an important story that goes beyond the world of magic and wizardry, shedding light on the real-life challenges and triumphs of those who dare to take the risks to bring our favorite stories to life.