Daniel Radcliffe and David Holmes in The Boy Who Lived

Daniel Radcliffe Joins ‘The Boy Who Lived’ Doc About His Stunt Double David Holmes

Daniel Radcliffe has signed on to serve as executive producer of David Holmes: The Boy Who Lived, a documentary about the actor’s Harry Potter stunt double. Holmes served as Radcliffe’s double for all the Harry Potter films before suffering a tragic accident on set that left him paralyzed.

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Holmes wasn’t just Radcliffe’s stunt double; he was also his friend. The pair became very close during their work on Harry Potter, and their bond persisted after the series concluded. They’ve even collaborated before on the podcast Cunning Stunts, which raises awareness for the risks that stunt doubles face in their career. The work of stunt performers is underappreciated in Hollywood, even though these individuals have one of the most dangerous jobs in the world and routinely risk their lives so that actors won’t have to. Most award shows don’t even have categories devoted to recognizing stunt work. While danger is a part of the job, there are definitely concerns about stunt doubles’ inability to refuse particularly unsafe stunts for fear of losing their jobs and directors and other executives forgoing safety for the sake of nabbing the perfect shot.

As is the case with Harry Potter, viewers can easily rattle off the names of all the main actors, but many don’t know or remember the stunt doubles’ names—not even those who made the news for suffering injuries or losing their lives on the sets of some of the biggest films/shows. Fortunately, Radcliffe and Holmes are ensuring that Holmes’ story continues to be told and remembered.

The Boy Who Lived will tell Holmes’ story

HBO and Sky Documentaries are teaming up to bring Holmes’ story to the screen with The Boy Who Lived, directed by Dan Hartley. The documentary will premiere on HBO on November 15 at 9 PM EST. It will also be available to stream on Max on November 15 and on Sky Documentaries’ streaming service, NOW, on November 18.

The Boy Who Lived has been described as a “coming-of-age” story about Holmes’ life, tracking his career from the beginning, when he was a “prodigious teenage gymnast” who landed the role of Radcliffe’s stunt double in Harry Potter. The documentary not only follows his Harry Potter career, but also the bond he developed with Radcliffe.

Radcliffe was only 11, and Holmes was barely more than a teenager when Holmes started performing as Radcliffe’s stunt double. Sky Documentaries’ press release describes their friendship as “an inextricable bond” formed over the 10 years they worked together. However, the documentary will also explore Holmes’ accident. While working on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 1 in 2009, Holmes suffered a spinal injury that “turned his world upside down.” The set was trying to achieve the effects of an explosion during a rehearsal, with Holmes hooked up to a wire that would pull him back as if the impact of an explosion was throwing him. He was pulled back too violently, though, sending him crashing into a wall. The horrific accident broke his neck, leaving him paralyzed from the chest down.

The Boy Who Lived isn’t just about his accident, but also about Holmes’ resilience after the fact. The cast of Harry Potter, especially Radcliffe and Tom Felton, rallied around Holmes and his family after the incident. However, it would end up being Holmes who strengthened and inspired them with his incredible spirit. It will be wonderful to see Holmes share his story and journey, as well as shine a light on the work that stunt doubles do and hopefully pave the way for better recognition, appreciation, and protection of these workers.

(featured image: HBO)

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Rachel Ulatowski
Rachel Ulatowski is a Staff Writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, literature, and celebrity news. She has over three years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant, JustWatch, and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.