Former Hollywood stuntman David Holmes is reflecting on “the best job in the world” in the forthcoming documentary The Boy Who Lived.
“You’re constantly being tested — risking it all,” Holmes said in the HBO film’s trailer, released on Wednesday, November 1. “I used to fly. Nothing’s like it man.”
Holmes was Daniel Radcliffe’s (Harry Potter) stunt double for almost all of the Harry Potter movies, until an accident on set of of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 1 in 2009 left him paralyzed from the waist down.
“I knew I was going to be a stuntman,” Holmes said. “Then I got the best job in the world, lead stunt double for Daniel in the Potter films.”
Radcliffe, 34, referred to Holmes as “a cool older brother” on the movie’s set. “He would do the most dangerous physical stuff,” the actor — who is the executive producer of The Boy Who Lived — recalled.
Radcliffe said it was “unfair” what Holmes had to go through, reflecting on the accident that caused the stuntman to break his neck. Before the incident, Holmes said his life was about being “cool,” but now he spends more time being “present.”
“This terrible thing happened to Dave, but I don’t want to talk as if his life is a tragedy,” Radcliffe added. “The was life has affected the lives of people around him means it’s the furthest thing from that imaginable.”
In the years following Holmes’ accident, the Harry Potter cast set up an “annual Slytherin vs. Gryffindor cricket match to raise money for the Royal National Orthopedic Hospital, where he was treated,” Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy) wrote in his Beyond the Wand memoir, which was released in October 2022.
Similar to Radcliffe, Felton also struck up a close friendship with Holmes on the Harry Potter set.
“Holmesey was Daniel’s stunt double from the beginning and also mine from the second film onwards. Given the various escapades of Harry and Draco, it meant he was kept very busy,” Felton wrote. “During the filming of Deathly Hallows it was brought home to us all that stunt work is not an activity to be approached naively.”
Felton recalled the day of Holmes’ accident, explaining that they were “rehearsing with a stunt that involved him flying through the air and hitting a wall.” While he was wearing a harness, “something went wrong.”
Holmes knew “immediately” that something had gone wrong after he “hit the wall far harder than he should have,” per Felton. The former stuntman was rushed to the hospital where it was determined that he would be paralyzed for the rest of his life with “limited use of his arms.”
Felton referred to Holmes as “the bravest, most strong-willed person” he’s ever met, calling the former stuntman — who has since opened his own production company — a “beacon of light.”
David Holmes: The Boy Who Lived premieres on Max Wednesday, November 15.