The compelling story of David Holmes, a former stuntman who suffered a life-altering injury on the set of “Harry Potter” in 2009, has been transformed into a poignant documentary, “David Holmes: The Boy Who Lived.” Premiering in London on Thursday, the film is a profound exploration of Holmes’ journey, blending archival footage of his days as Daniel Radcliffe‘s stunt double with scenes of his current life and interviews with friends and former colleagues, including Radcliffe himself.
For Holmes, creating the documentary was a cathartic process, though he admits he’s not yet ready to watch it. It’s a project that has brought him and his colleagues closer, sparking important conversations. “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 shared.
His journey began as a skilled teenager gymnast, leading to his significant role in the Harry Potter franchise. However, a rehearsal for a stunt in “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part One” changed his life forever. While performing a fight scene, Holmes was pulled back on a harness, resulting in a severe neck injury. Marc Mailley, a fellow stunt artist present during the accident, recounted the shock and disbelief of that moment.
Refusing to be defined by his injury, Holmes chose the path of a survivor. The documentary delves into his challenging medical journey and his unwavering spirit in the face of adversity. Directed by Dan Hartley, a former Harry Potter crew member, and executive produced by Daniel Radcliffe, the film symbolizes a deep friendship and mutual respect. Holmes speaks fondly of Radcliffe, proud of his continued success, including his Broadway performances in “Merrily We Roll Along.”
Through this raw and honest documentary, Holmes aims to shed light on the often-overlooked world of stunt performers and the realities of living with a disability. He emphasizes his fortunate position in being able to adapt to life post-injury, acknowledging that many in society feel forgotten and lost. His story is one of resilience, hope, and the power of human spirit.
Holmes’ documentary stands as a testament to his strength and the importance of conversations around both the stunt industry and the experiences of disabled individuals. It’s a narrative that resonates with courage, friendship, and the unyielding will to overcome life’s most challenging obstacles.