“Harry Potter” Stunt Double Left Paralyzed During Filming, and the Crucial Scene is Revealed
In 2009, a tragic incident unfolded on the set of the Harry Potter movie, resulting in severe injuries and eventual paralysis for stuntman David Holmes. Reflecting on the mishap over a decade later, Holmes shared insights into the misjudged stunt, shedding light on the events of that day and revealing the profound impact it has had on his life.
He became a part of the Harry Potter crew as a teenager.
At the age of 14, David Holmes had already undergone training in gymnastics, trampolining, high diving, kickboxing, horse riding, and swimming. It was during this period that he embarked on his journey into stunt work, initially serving as the body-double for a young actor in the 1998 sci-fi movie Lost in Space.
This initial venture paved the way for his involvement in the Harry Potter film series, catching the attention of stunt coordinator Greg Powell. Holmes was summoned to undergo a broomstick test, a unique trial that involved being securely fastened to the back of a truck and towed down a runway. This performance took place in front of Chris Columbus, the director of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001) and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002). Holmes’s exceptional demonstration during this unconventional audition secured him the role as Daniel Radcliffe’s stunt double in the iconic film saga.
The tragic incident occurred during the production of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1.
In 2009, tragedy befell David Holmes during the filming of the sixth installment of the Harry Potter movie series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1. A planned explosion for a flying stunt went awry, causing him to collide with a wall before landing on a crash mat. The severity of the situation became apparent when he couldn’t squeeze his stunt coordinator’s fingers, despite having movement in his arm, and realized he couldn’t feel his legs.
Promptly taken to the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, Holmes underwent surgery. However, the news that followed was heart-wrenching—he was paralyzed from the chest down, with only limited movement in his arms and hands. This incident marked a profound and transformative moment in Holmes’s life and career.
He never lost his positive outlook on life throughout the challenges he faced.
In spite of the transformative impact of his injuries, the 41-year-old at present chose not to be defined by them. From the outset, he assumed control, confronting the stark reality with unwavering determination. While recognizing the tragedy, he sustained a resolute commitment to surmounting the challenges before him.
Holmes has underscored the significance of maintaining a positive mindset in coping with his disability, acknowledging its role in adapting to life with it. Despite occasional flashbacks from the incident, he has developed the ability to “live with and manage” them. Remarkably, Holmes continues to pursue excitement, finding the adrenaline rush he has always cherished by driving a specially-modified car around racetracks at speeds of up to 150mph.
Daniel Radcliffe honored Holmes with an emotional documentary about his life.
Daniel Radcliffe, who was shot to fame for portraying the titular character in the saga, has kept a close friendship with Holmes, whom he met when he was still a child. Inspired by how Holmes coped with adversity, the actor decided to share his story in a documentary.
In the documentary’s trailer, Radcliffe reflects on the impact of the incident, however he refrains from portraying Holmes’s life as a tragedy, emphasizing instead on the profound effect it has had on those around him. It also hints at a perspective that goes beyond the accident, bringing special attention to the positive influence Holmes has had on those in his orbit and his work focused on helping others with similar disabilities.
Watch the trailer for the documentary here:
In addition to being a steadfast friend, Daniel Radcliffe has evolved into a family-oriented man. Encountering actress Erin Darke on set proved to be a magical turning point in Daniel’s personal life, with their relationship blossoming into an inspiring love story.