David Holmes: The Boy Who Lived
David Holmes: The Boy Who Lived: See David Holmes and Daniel Radcliffe talk about the stuntman’s story
Executive produced by Daniel Radcliffe himself and directed by Dan Hartley (Lad: A Yorkshire Story), this one-off film is the coming-of-age story of stuntman David Holmes. The official synopsis released by Sky reads:
“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. Over the next ten years, the two form an inextricable bond, but on the penultimate film a tragic accident on set leaves David paralyzed with a debilitating spinal injury, turning his world upside down. As Daniel and his closest stunt colleagues rally to support David and his family in their moment of need, it is David’s extraordinary spirit of resilience that becomes their greatest source of strength and inspiration.”
The documentary features candid personal footage from the last decade, including behind-the-scenes from Holmes’ stunt work and intimate interviews with David, Daniel Radcliffe, friends, family and former crew from the Harry Potter films.
Put simply, it’s a must watch!
Watch the official trailer
Where can I watch David Holmes: The Boy Who Lived?
What happened to David Holmes?
During filming for the penultimate Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, a tragic accident on set left David paralysed with a debilitating spinal injury.
Are David Holmes and Daniel Radcliffe friends?
Absolutely. As seen in David Holmes: The Boy Who Lived we see how David and Daniel’s friendship evolved from when they first met on the set for Harry Potter to now, more than two decades later.
Does David Holmes do a podcast?
Yes, David Holmes has his very own podcast series called Cunning Stunts, A Podcast Series.
Who is in the documentary?
David Holmes is the focus of documentary film, David Holmes: The Boy Who Lived. Hailing from Essex, in his teenage years David was a gymnast and was chosen to be Daniel Radcliffe’s stunt double in the first Harry Potter film. He continued in this role until an accident occurred during rehearsals for a scene in the penultimate film, leaving him paralysed.
This documentary film follows David and features candid personal footage from the past decade as well as intimate footage of David and his close family and friends, giving us an unprecedented insight into David’s achievements and the challenges he faces every day.
Daniel Radcliffe is a British actor who is best known for playing the role of Harry Potter in all seven of the Harry Potter films that make up the franchise. He started playing Potter at just 12 years old and was 22 years old when the last show came out. After Harry Potter, Radcliffe starred on stage in both the West End and Broadway and has also appeared in a number of movies including The Woman in Black and Weird: The Al Yankovic Story.
David Holmes and Daniel Radcliffe first met on the set of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, when David was hired as Daniel’s stunt double. The pair enjoyed a strong friendship and share an inextricable bond. But on set for the penultimate film in 2009, a rehearsal went wrong leaving David paralysed and his career as a stunt double over. However, Daniel and David’s friendship continued and to this day the pair continue to have a strong bond.
Sue & Andy Holmes, David’s Parents
Sue and Andy Holmes are David Holmes’ parents. Throughout the documentary film they offer insight on David, from what he was like as a child – fearless, which no doubt helped with being a stuntman – to how he’s dealt with his spinal injury.
Greg Powell, Stunt Co-Ordinator on Harry Potter
Greg Powell is a stunt coordinator who has over 40 years’ experience in the film industry. Greg was the Stunt Co-Ordinator for the Harry Potter films but has worked on a huge number of other productions. Greg and David worked together on a couple of productions before the Harry Potter opportunity came around and saw David land the job as the lead stunt double for Daniel Radcliffe.
Marc Mailley, Stuntman on Harry Potter and friend of David
Marc Mailley is David Holmes’ best friend and worked with David as a fellow stunt coordinator on the set of the Harry Potter movies. In fact, after David’s accident during the filming of the penultimate Potter film Marc had to take over as Daniel Radcliffe’s stunt double and perform the stunt which resulted in David’s injury.
Throughout the documentary, Marc speaks about his experience of working as a stunt double on the Harry Potter films, his relationship with David - the pair met through dance, even forming a dance group. David was the one who took Marc to the gymnastics club and introduced him to Greg, thus beginning Marc’s career as a stuntman.
Tolga Kenan, Stuntman on Harry Potter and friend of David
Tolga was just 10 years old when he was an apprentice on the Harry Potter movies and his first stunt on set was with David himself. Tolga recalls how David took him under his wing and from there a friendship blossomed.
Tommy Wells, friend of and care assistant for David
Tommy Wells is David’s friend who has known him since the age of 17. When David’s accident happened, Tommy stepped in to help him and become his care assistant. But as Tommy himself says, “it’s not a responsibility, I’m hanging out with my best mate.”.
Being a Stuntman
How to become a stuntman
At the age of 5, David began gymnastics because Sue, his mum, believed it was a “great way of expelling energy”. Until the age of 18, David spent five to six days a week training in the gymnastics club. During this time he learnt the correct form – something which is key when a stuntman.
While everyone’s journey to becoming a stuntman is different, David’s gymnastic trainer was a stuntman himself which Andy, David’s father, reveals started the whole conversation about David being a stuntman. David reveals that “nothing else was important to me, I knew I was going to be a stuntman”.
What does a stuntman do?
A stuntman’s role differs from film-to-film but ultimately their role is to carry out stunts that are deemed too dangerous for the actor themselves to carry out. Being a stuntman is a difficult and highly skilled role but as David himself puts it, “You get paid to play”.
What do you need to be a stuntman?
Despite David saying that being a stuntman is essentially getting “paid to play” he notes that there is “an art form to it”. There is also a qualification to gain, which requires you to do six sports to a “ridiculously high level” which means very few people make it to the end.
Did Daniel Radcliffe want to be a stuntman?
Daniel himself confesses that he was not very coordinated but notes that there was a brief moment where he entertained the thought of becoming a stuntman. Although, he reveals that this was a fleeting thought and he realised he’d never be able to backflip to the level that David can.