Harry Potter Tragic Accident Subject Of New Documentary

By Zack Zagranis | Published

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In the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, injuries can be fixed with the wave of a wand and a few magic words. Sadly, David Holmes is proof that the real world doesn’t work that way. Holmes suffered a horrific injury on the set of the seventh Harry Potter film that left him paralyzed for life, and now a new documentary is being made about the tragic incident.

Daniel Radcliffe Is Producing A Documentary About David Holmes’ Accident

As Deadline reports, Harry Potter himself, Daniel Radcliffe, is executive producing the documentary titled David Holmes: The Boy Who Lived. The documentary is a joint production between British company Sky and HBO Documentary Films. The movie will tell how Holmes—a prodigious teenage gymnast—formed a tight bond with Radcliffe prior to his life-changing accident on the set of 2010’s Deathly Hallows: Part 1.

Holmes Was Daniel Radcliffe’s Stunt Double

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Holmes was acting as Daniel Radcliffe’s stunt double on Deathly Hallows when an explosion left him paralyzed. The explosion was a planned part of a stunt that went awry and slammed Holmes into a wall. Holmes hit the wall with enough force that his spine was injured to the extent that the young stunt double lost all feeling in his body from the chest down.

The documentary will feature footage shot over the last decade, including behind-the-scenes footage of Holmes performing stunt work. The older footage will be mixed with scenes of Holmes’ current life and intimate interviews with Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe, friends and family, and Holmes’ former crew members.

While Filming, An Accident Left Holmes Paralyzed For Life

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The specifics behind the accident that left Holmes paralyzed for life were laid out by the stunt performer in a 2014 interview. Holmes explained that he was in the middle of rehearsing one of Harry Potter’s many flying scenes at the Warner Bros. Studio in Leavesden, England in 2009 when the tragedy occurred. Holmes described being yanked backward “at speed” while attached to a high-strength wire in a stunt that is supposed to replicate the effects of an explosion.

When the wire jerked Holmes back, however, it slammed him violently into a wall, immediately breaking his spine in the process. The accident led to a six-month hospitalization at the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in Stanmore, northwest London. It was there that Holmes first learned that he was paralyzed from the chest down and would only ever have limited movement in his arms and hands.

Daniel Radcliffe And Tom Felton Kept In Touch With Holmes

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Harry Potter actors Daniel Radcliffe and Tom Felton, who plays the evil Draco Malfoy, visited Holmes regularly throughout his lengthy hospital stay. Radcliffe even held a charity auction complete with dinner to raise money for the injured stunt performer’s medical bills.

Holmes Played A Body Double In Lost In Space

Holmes’s career began several years before Harry Potter was even a thing, when he became a competitive gymnast at the tender age of six. His first role as a body double was on the set of 1998 sci-fi dud Lost in Space.

Not long after, Holmes was cast as Daniel Radcliffe’s stunt double for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. His work on the 2001 production—the first in the long-running Harry Potter series—led to Holmes becoming Radcliffe’s double on all of the Harry Potter films up until the tragic injury on the set of the first Deathly Hallows ended his stunt career permanently.

David Holmes: The Boy Who Lived premieres on HBO on Wednesday, November 15 and will be available to stream on Max soon after.