Renowned actor Daniel Radcliffe has taken on a multifaceted role as an executive producer and a central interviewee in the upcoming HBO original documentary entitled “David Holmes: The Boy Who Lived.” This highly anticipated film, scheduled to premiere in November, delves into the extraordinary life of David Holmes, the dedicated stunt double for Radcliffe’s iconic character, Harry Potter, in the film series spanning from “Sorcerer’s Stone” to “Deathly Hallows Part 1.” Tragically, Holmes’ journey was forever altered when he suffered a severe spinal injury that left him paralyzed from the chest down during a fateful on-set accident.
According to HBO’s official documentary synopsis, “The film is a coming-of-age story of stuntman David Holmes, a prodigious teenage gymnast from Essex, England, who is selected to play Daniel Radcliffe’s stunt double in the first ‘Harry Potter’ film when Daniel is just 11. Over the next 10 years, the two form an inextricable bond, but in the penultimate film, a tragic accident on set leaves David paralyzed with a debilitating spinal injury, turning his world upside down. As Daniel and his closest stunt colleagues rally to support David and his family in their moment of need, it is David’s extraordinary spirit of resilience that becomes their greatest source of strength and inspiration.”
This compelling documentary features an array of intimate and revealing elements, including candid personal footage spanning the past decade, behind-the-scenes material showcasing Holmes’ daring stunt work, glimpses into his current life, and in-depth interviews with David himself, Daniel Radcliffe, their friends, family, and former crew members. HBO emphasizes that the film also touches on universal themes such as confronting adversity, the challenges of growing up, crafting one’s identity in an uncertain world, and the profound bonds that connect us, offering solace and inspiration during life’s most trying moments.
Directed by Dan Hartley, the filmmaker behind “Lad: A Yorkshire Story,” “David Holmes: The Boy Who Lived” serves as the latest chapter in Radcliffe and Holmes’ professional collaboration. Their shared journey began with the Harry Potter film series, and amidst the challenges of the pandemic in 2020, the duo united to launch the “Cunning Stunts” podcast. This podcast sought to shed light on the often-underappreciated and physically demanding work of stunt performers in the world of Hollywood.
Speaking about the podcast, Daniel Radcliffe expressed, “I think there’s a myth around stuntmen that they are just superhuman in some way. When the public see something really painful or horrible, they think it was a visual effect or that there’s some clever, safe way of doing it. Often that’s not the case. There’s no way of faking, for example, falling down stairs. When you get hit by a car, you’re still getting hit by a car, even if it’s going slower than it would. They find the safest way of doing it, but it can still hurt.”
This documentary is a testament to the relentless human spirit, resilience, and the incredible bonds forged in the face of adversity. “David Holmes: The Boy Who Lived” is a production of HBO Documentary Films in collaboration with Sky and Lightbox / Ripple. Notable producers include Simon Chinn, Jonathan Chinn, Vanessa Davies, and Amy Stares. Joining Radcliffe as an executive producer are David Holmes, Dan Hartley, Sue Latimer, and Sarah Spahovic. HBO’s executive producers on this project are Nancy Abraham, Lisa Heller, and Tina Nguyen, while Sky’s executive producer is Poppy Dixon.
Mark your calendars for the premiere of “David Holmes: The Boy Who Lived” on Wednesday, November 15, at 9 p.m. ET on HBO, and for those who prefer streaming, the documentary will also be available on HBO Max. This heartfelt and awe-inspiring journey promises to be a must-watch for fans of the “Harry Potter” series, admirers of resilience, and anyone seeking to uncover the untold stories of the entertainment industry’s unsung heroes.
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