Working as the person who does the risky scenes in movies is not an easy thing, since they have to interpret all the most daring scenes that need more preparation, such as having a good physique, knowing how to do certain stunts, among others.
Many times these scenes do not turn out as planned and can risk the life of the actor. This happened to David Holmes, the action double of Daniel Radcliffe, the protagonist of the ‘Harry Potter’ saga.
For more than nine years, David Holmes was doing the stunts for Harry Potter. The actor at that time was perfect for the role, since his height and build were similar to those of the protagonist.
However, he never imagined that by doing a bad stunt he would be seriously injured.
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In 2009, one of the latest movies, ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,’ was being shot, and Holmes was rehearsing a scene that had a stunt, but in doing so he fell badly and broke his neck, leaving him paralyzed from the chest down.
David Holmes, Daniel Radcliffe’s double throughout the saga, suffered an accident during filming and was left paralyzed. Daniel and the other actors keep in touch with him. #HarryPotterEnCuatro pic.twitter.com/xgSAlkdexp
— 🏳️🌈𝑷𝒐𝒕𝒕𝒆𝒓⚯͛ (@potter_pan) May 1, 2021
Memories of ‘Harry Potter’
Holmes began playing Harry’s double when he was 17 years old. Because of his small stature, he was perfect for 11-year-old Daniel Radcliffe. During that time, they became good friends, and Holmes helped Radcliffe get into physical shape to handle stunts that required his face to appear on camera.
“We were at Alnwick Castle and there’s a scene where Harry has to hit a ball with a bat. As soon as Greg and I saw Dan swing the bat, he looked at me and said, ‘We’re going to have to work a little with him, you know?’ It was just the way Dan moved, you could see that he wasn’t going to come from any kind of athletic background,” Holmes recalled to the ‘Deadline’ medium.
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The pair of actors continued to train hard and, little by little, Radcliffe was able to take on bigger challenges, such as that of the fourth film ‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire’, which involved a fall of 35 feet (10 meters). However, the most dangerous scenes were made by Holmes.
Life after the accident
Currently, David Holmes has a podcast called ‘Cunning Stunts’ in which he shares the experiences he had in the ‘Harry Potter’ saga. Likewise, he denounces the lack of knowledge about the actors who risk their lives for entertainment.
Each chapter has candid conversations about the risks inherent in the job and the stunt team who are in charge of mitigating the dangers.
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“But at the same time, you shouldn’t go to work unless you’re willing to hope that there’s a chance it won’t go well, and you might not get a second take. I’ve suffered the ultimate price for doing what I love, but I’ve always I will say: I was a specialist, I went to work, I took that risk, I took that money,” Holmes said on his podcast.
There he also talks about the lack of knowledge that people have about these actors and mentions that they should be given more credit.
David Holmes, Daniel Radcliffe’s stunt double in the Harry Potter films, was injured in one of the stunts in the last film and was left paralyzed from the chest down. pic.twitter.com/uapf5nZahg
– MondongoFacts (@MondongoFacts) February 25, 2022
I suffered the ultimate price for doing what I love, but I will always say: I was a specialist, I went to work, I took that risk, I took that money.
“Olivia Jackson lost an arm and half her body was paralyzed on a production of ‘Resident Evil.’ other departments are recognized and we are not,” says Holmes.
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Recording the podcast has been Holmes’s way of letting off steamsince, as he says, his disability is a full-time job because he is constantly changing neurologically. In addition, he states that as the chapters of his program progress his spinal cord injury has worsened.
“There are people who live much worse in this world at the moment. So I consider myself very lucky,” Holmes concluded.
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