Daniel Radcliffe is returning to Harry Potter, but not for a new sequel. He’s contributing to a documentary about an accident on set that left his stunt double, David Holmes, paralyzed from the chest down.
The incident in question happened while making Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part One. During a sequence in the fantasy movie, Holmes broke his neck, leading to permanent paralysis in parts of his body. He’d been part of the Harry Potter cast since the first film, and now David Holmes: The Boy Who Lived will reveal more about his contributions and time after.
The new movie covers Holmes’s life, from being a gymnast to getting the gig at Hogwarts, and the bond he shared with Radcliffe. The two worked together, making the family movies for a decade before the incident where Holmes got injured.
Radcliffe will appear extensively in the production, in addition to holding an executive producer credit. This isn’t their first collaboration since then – they actually started a podcast over lockdown, Cunning Stunts, all about stunt performers within Hollywood.
Truly, stuntwork is one area that’s often overlooked or minimized in people’s understanding of filmmaking. Body doubles are crucial to making big scenes look as good as they can, essentially by taking the bumps and accepting the danger the stars can’t.
Radcliffe has trumpeted that stunt people deserve more credit before, even calling the Academy “crazy” for not having a stunts Oscar. “If you can’t see the art of a brilliant stunt scene, you’re just not looking hard enough,” he once told Deadline. “I do think there’s a snobbery, but stunt work is an art form, and to do it well and do it safely is really, really hard.”
There’s a lot of pain involved in stunts and a huge amount of risk that goes uncelebrated most of the time. Many of the best movies simply wouldn’t exist without the stunt team’s expertise, and audiences should understand what they’re putting on the line by taking part.
David Holmes: The Boy Who Lived will give Harry Potter fans an insight into all of that through the lens of something tragic. Thankfully, Radcliffe and Holmes are achieving some good out of an accident that really shouldn’t have happened. I suspect we’ll all come away having learned a little more about one of our favorite franchises and what it costs to give it to us.
We have a guide on the Harry Potter movies in order if you’d like to have a rewatch before David Holmes: The Boy Who Lived comes out on HBO and streaming on November 15. Our guide on the Harry Potter TV series release date should prove useful, too.