Although stuntman David Holmes has a real claim to playing the kid wizard on screen, Daniel Radcliffe became a global celebrity for his leading role as Harry Potter in the wildly popular film series.
Holmes performed all of Daniel Radcliffe’s stunts for the whole Harry Potter series. At the age of 17, he got his start as a stunt double in The Philosopher’s/Stone Sorcerer’s in 2001.
He was the perfect replacement for Radcliffe, who was just 11 at the time due to his little stature, and he worked with the young actor in each subsequent Harry Potter movie until a terrible catastrophe on the set of Deathly Hallows: Part 2 abruptly changed everything.
In 2009, Holmes was practising a stunt in which he would be “swept back” by a controlled explosion while being fastened to a harness.
However, the act ultimately went “badly wrong,” resulting in Holmes smashing into a wall, becoming paralysed from the waist down, and being confined to a wheelchair.
Immediately after the incident, a source stated that the stuntman was still conscious and told his coworkers, “I can’t feel my legs”.
Speaking to The Mirror, an insider said: “The stunt double was badly hurt. He was rehearsing a flying scene which involved an explosion and it seems to have gone badly wrong.”
Holmes was transported right away to the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in North London, which specialises in spinal injuries, by paramedics who arrived on the spot and worked nonstop to rescue him.
David was told by the medical team that although they had been able to preserve his life, he was now paralysed from the chest down and had only very limited use of his arms and hands.
“‘I have gone from being able to stand on my hands for half an hour at a time and then all of a sudden I can’t sit up in bed,”
“My first thought was, ‘Don’t ring mum and dad, I don’t want to worry them’,” he added.
David spent six months in the hospital learning to adapt to his new way of life, but Tom Felton and fellow Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe routinely paid him visits and encouraged him as he recovered.
The two remained close friends even after Radcliffe held a charity auction to help pay for Holmes’ medical expenses.
“I’ve got a relationship that goes back many, many years with Dave,” Radcliffe said during the charity auction.
“And I would hate for people to just see me and Dave and go, ‘Oh, there’s Daniel Radcliffe with a person in a wheelchair’ – because I would never, even for a moment, want them to assume that Dave was anything except for an incredibly important person in my life.”
Since his accident, neither David’s passion for the business nor his friendship with Radcliffe have wavered. The two even collaborated to host their own podcast series, “Cunning Stunts,” in which they speak with stunt performers in an effort to raise awareness of one of the most crucial but underappreciated sectors of the movie business.
Despite the fact that Holmes’ injuries changed the course of his life, the courageous actor never allowed them define him and declared that he was determined to regain control of his life no matter how challenging it could be.
In fact, he now runs his own podcast – Cunning Stunts – where he – “hopes to highlight and pay tribute to the amazing work that our Stunt Coordinators and Performers do whilst on set in the name of entertainment.”
Download it now to learn more about the extraordinary lengths stunt actors go to in order to make us smile! New episodes are presently released every week.