Harry Potter's paralysed stunt double found making new documentary "cathartic"

November 17, 2023 1:39 pm

[Source: Reuters]

The life and work of stuntman David Holmes who was left paralysed after an accident in 2009 on the set of Harry Potter has been turned into a documentary, which he said was “cathartic” to make but cannot yet watch.

“David Holmes: The Boy Who Lived”, which premiered in London on Thursday, features archive footage of Holmes working as actor Daniel Radcliffe’s stunt double as well as scenes of his life today and interviews with his former colleagues and friends, including Radcliffe. “It’s been really nice for my boys to get together and talk about it. We are living in a society where men don’t really talk. So I’m really chuffed,” Holmes said. A skilled gymnast, Holmes was a teenager when he was chosen to work on the Potter franchise. But a rehearsal for a stunt in which Holmes was pulled back on a harness during a fight scene in “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part One” went wrong and he broke his neck.

“It just happened so quickly. It didn’t look real. We just thought, this can’t be happening,” said Marc Mailley, a fellow stunt artist who was there at the time. “You can either be a victim or a survivor. I choose to be a survivor,” said Holmes, whose challenging medical journey is seen in the new film. Directed by former Harry Potter crew member Dan Hartley, the film is executive produced by Daniel Radcliffe. “He’s one of my best friends,” Holmes said, explaining how proud he is of Radcliffe, who has continued acting and is starring in on Broadway in the musical “Merrily We Roll Along”.

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Holmes hopes his raw documentary might start conversations about stunt performers’ work and what it is like to be disabled.

“I am lucky and fortunate enough to be able to live with a broken neck and project past my injury. There are a million people that feel lost and forgotten about in society,” he said.