Daniel Radcliffe, the wizard we all know as Harry Potter, almost waved his directorial wand on a documentary project close to his heart. The film in question? “David Holmes: The Boy Who Lived,” a touching story about his “Harry Potter” stunt double, David Holmes, who faced life-altering challenges after a tragic on-set accident.
During the London premiere of the HBO and Sky documentary, Radcliffe, who’s currently treading the boards in the Broadway revival of “Merrily We Roll Along” in New York City, virtually joined in for a Q&A session with Holmes and director Dan Hartley. Here’s where the plot thickens: Radcliffe originally intended to take the director’s chair himself.
“I had always wanted to do something about Dave because I wanted to share him with the world for the person that he is,” Radcliffe revealed. “And Dave’s natural humility meant that he was kind of unsure about that for a while — he wanted to make something broader about stunts in general. But eventually, I sort of convinced him that he should be front and center of it. And we shot some stuff because for some reason, I thought — having never done anything like this before — that I would know how to direct a documentary. Turns out, I didn’t. At all.”
So, what happened next? Radcliffe and Holmes called upon their old friend Dan Hartley, who had previously worked as a video operator on the “Harry Potter” series and had a directorial project under his belt, “Lad: A Yorkshire Story.”
“We wanted someone we knew and that would connect to the material in the same way that we did. We were kind of scared of somebody from the outside coming in with a slightly more salacious lens,” Radcliffe confessed. “Dan had obviously made a feature film before. He hadn’t made a documentary, but we trusted him immensely and we talked about all the docs that we loved and we were very much on the same page. Then Dan shot a couple of afternoons of interviews and showed us, and from that moment it was so clear.”
When Radcliffe presented his own footage to Hartley, the verdict was crystal clear: start from scratch. Radcliffe graciously stepped aside from the director’s role and took on the role of an executive producer. The resulting documentary traces Holmes’ journey to recovery after a spinal cord injury suffered during pre-production rehearsals for “Deathly Hallows Part 1.” Radcliffe also appears in the film.
As for Holmes himself, he hopes that viewers will take away a message of hope, citing a Taylor Swift lyric: “Living for the hope of it all.” In these turbulent times, he emphasizes the importance of hope and collective support. He encourages people to share their vulnerabilities, emphasizing that it’s these life scars that make us who we are.
“David Holmes: The Boy Who Lived” is now available for streaming on HBO and is set to premiere in the U.K. on Sky Documentaries and the NOW streaming service on November 18th. Grab your popcorn and tissues, because this one’s bound to tug at the heartstrings!
What are your thoughts on Daniel Radcliffe’s decision to step aside from directing the documentary and instead serve as an executive producer? Do you think it was the right choice, and how do you feel about the documentary’s focus on David Holmes’ journey? Leave us a comment.