Harry Potter stuntman David Holmes, 42, ‘lives vicariously’ through his ‘best friend’ Daniel Radcliffe after on-set accident left him paralysed
Harry Potter stuntman David Holmes has revealed he ‘lives vicariously’ through Daniel Radcliffe after he was left paralysed when performing a stunt for the star.
David, 42, was rehearsing a flying scene involving an explosion when he plummeted to the ground while working on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 in January 2009 at the Leavesden film studios near Watford.
The accident snapped David’s neck which resulted in him being paralysed from the chest down, with limited movements in his arms and hands.
A consequent cyst in his spinal cord has resulted in ongoing deterioration and he is likely to soon be fully paralysed, making independent breathing, speech and swallowing impossible.
David is telling his story in a new documentary, titled The Boy Who Lived, and spoke fondly about his ongoing friendship with Hollywood star Daniel, 34, who serves as an executive producer on the film.
Bond: Harry Potter stuntman David Holmes (right) has revealed he ‘lives vicariously’ through Daniel Radcliffe after he was left paralysed when performing a stunt for the star
Accident: David, 42, was rehearsing a flying scene on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 in 2009 when he plummeted to the ground and snapped his neck, leaving him paralysed
He told The Independent: ‘Every time I see his physicality in films, I can vicariously live through those successes just because I know that those early days it was me that was whipping him into shape and laying the foundation for him.’
The former gymnast added to Radio Times: ‘We grew up together, and he grew to be one of my best friends. I’m so proud of him. You think of how many child stars don’t make it through that pressure.’
Speaking about his feelings towards the Harry Potter films now, he added: ‘I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t have regrets. But around my stunt career and around my contribution to the Potters, no.
‘I had the best job in the world and I’m part of something really beautiful, and you can’t ask for more than that as a legacy. If anyone can take something from my film, it’s understanding that we’re all on borrowed time and that we make the most of it.’
The bond he shares with Daniel is mutual, with the Emmy nominated actor telling The Sunday Times: ‘I always wanted an older brother and Dave was one of them.
‘He was someone that really looked out for me as I grew up and has continued to and I knew I could trust him. That’s something that hasn’t changed.’
In a trailer for the documentary, Daniel became emotional as he described the accident as ‘unfair’ saying his friend ‘shouldn’t have had to have gone through any of that’.
Recalling the incident, David said: ‘I remember straight after breaking my neck I said “There’s no chance coming back?”‘
Daniel then said despite this ‘horrible thing happening to Dave’ he doesn’t want to talk about his friend’s life as a tragedy.
Friendship: David is telling his story in a new documentary, titled The Boy Who Lived, and spoke fondly about his ongoing friendship with Hollywood star Daniel, 34
On set: Daniel (L) who also produced the documentary entitled Film David Holmes: The Boy Who Lived, described his former colleague as a ‘really cool big brother’
Emotion: Daniel broke down in tears in the first trailer for the new documentary, David Holmes: The Boy Who Lived
Remarkable footage was then shown of David learning to live with his disability, helping others and raising money for charity.
The film is being created by Sky and HBO Documentary Films to tell former actor David’s coming-of-age story of the teenage gymnast who developed a friendship with Harry on the movie set.
Footage shot over the last 10 years of David’s stunt work and personal life, as well as interviews with Daniel, friends, family and former crew will show how David has grown since his accident, and how he copes with adversity.
Taking to Instagram after news of the documentary’s release was announced last month, David wrote: ‘Finally, the day has come. I can now share with you all the secret project and four years’ hard work that has gone into creating this film: THE BOY WHO LIVED
‘Being a stuntman was my calling in life, and doubling Harry was the best job in the world. In January 2009, I had a stunt rehearsal accident that changed my life forever. This film tells the story of not just my achievements in front of camera, but also the challenges I face every day, and my overall attitude to life after suffering a broken neck.
‘In the turbulent world we find ourselves living in right now, I would like to quote Harry, “We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided”.
‘I am only able to live because of the united love and support that I am fortunate enough to have had. And it is thanks to this love and support that I am able to share my journey with you all.’
In 2009, David had been rehearsing scenes for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows but things went wrong as he was practicing a flying sequence in a harness.
An explosion, which was part of the stunt, caused him to fall to the ground.
Amazing: Remarkable footage is then shown of David learning to live with his disability, helping others and raising money for charity
Injured: David had worked as Daniel’s body double on all the Harry Potter films before his accident on the set of the penultimate movie (pictured in 2009)
A source told MailOnline at the time: ‘It is thought he may have been caught by the explosion and hit the ground very hard.
‘He told crew members who went to help him he couldn’t feel anything from the waist down.’
David, who had worked as Daniel’s body double on all the Harry Potter films before his accident, was initially taken to A&E at Watford General Hospital, but transferred to a specialist spinal injury hospital when the extent of his injuries became apparent.
David Holmes: The Boy Who Lived will be released on HBO Max in the US on November 15 and on Sky Documentaries and NOW TV in the UK on November 18.
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