A “Harry Potter” Stunt Double Revealed the Scene That Left Him PARALYZED
Tragedy struck the Harry Potter movie set in 2009, when a mistimed stunt left David Holmes seriously injured and eventually paralyzed. More than a decade after the accident, the stuntman opened up about what went wrong that day and how his life has changed since then.
He joined the Harry Potter crew as a teenager.
At the age of 14, David Holmes had already trained in gymnastics, trampolining, high diving, kick boxing, horse riding and swimming. It was precisely then that he started his journey into stunt work when he became the body-double for a young actor in the 1998 sci-fi movie Lost in Space.
This opportunity led to his involvement in the Harry Potter film series, because he caught the eye of stunt coordinator Greg Powell. Holmes was asked to perform a broomstick test, which involved being strapped to the back of a truck and towed down a runway in front Chris Columbus, who directed Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001) and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002). This unique experience ultimately secured him a role as Daniel Radcliffe’s stunt double in the iconic film saga.
The accident happened in the making of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1.
In 2009, while filming the sixth installment of the movie series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, tragedy struck Holmes. A planned explosion for a flying stunt went awry, causing him to crash into a wall and then land on a crash mat. He immediately sensed something was seriously wrong when he couldn’t squeeze his stunt coordinator’s fingers despite being able to move his arm, and that he couldn’t feel his legs.
He was rushed to the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, where he got surgery, however heartbreaking news still followed. Holmes was paralyzed from the chest down, with only limited movement in his arms and hands. The incident marked a significant turning point in Holmes’s life and career.
He never lost his positivity when it comes to life.
Despite the life-changing nature of his injuries, the now 41-year-old refused to let them define him. Taking control early on, he faced the harsh reality with a determined mindset, acknowledging the tragedy while maintaining a sense of sheer determination to overcome it.
Holmes has since emphasized the importance of staying positive when it comes to dealing with his disability, noting that it helps in living with it. While he occasionally experiences flashbacks from the incident, he has learned to “live with and manage” them. In fact, Holmes still seeks thrills and nowadays, he achieves the adrenaline rush he has always enjoyed 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:
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