Viewers of the eight Harry Potter features may never have considered the bonds that formed over the decade required to make them. “David Holmes: The Boy Who Lived” revolves around the friendship between Daniel Radcliffe, who played Harry, and Holmes, who served as his stunt double for most of those years.
Radcliffe, an only child, describes viewing Holmes as a cool older-brother figure. “He did so much for me that was crazy,” Radcliffe says. The documentary shows a side-by-side comparison to illustrate how Holmes would shoot an action sequence and Radcliffe would copy his moves. “I’ve probably got more broomstick air miles than any other human being on the planet,” Holmes quips.
In 2009, Holmes was seriously injured in a rehearsal for a “Harry Potter” stunt; the accident ultimately left him partly paralyzed. “David Holmes: The Boy Who Lived” puts his life and his philosophy of living at its center. He has remained upbeat over the years, despite multiple setbacks and surgeries. The film also depicts his continuing rapport with Radcliffe and other members of the franchise’s stunt team, who gather in the documentary like lifelong school buddies. (Radcliffe says the “Potter” alumni he was closest to were not his fellow stars but members of the crew.)
The documentary, directed by Dan Hartley, isn’t all optimism. “In the nicest way, I’m going to say I wish I’d never met him,” Greg Powell, the stunt coordinator on the series, says of the guilt he still feels over what happened to Holmes, even though both have expressed having felt like father and son during the films. “The Boy Who Lived” provides an unusual behind-the-scenes portrait of how life goes on after movies are made.
David Holmes: The Boy Who Lived
Not rated. Running time: 1 hour 23 minutes. Watch on Max.