- Daniel Radcliffe wanted to direct the documentary about his friend David Holmes, but realized he didn’t know how to direct a documentary.
- The documentary is based on the friendship between Radcliffe and Holmes, who became paralyzed in a stunt accident on the set of Harry Potter.
- The director role for the documentary went to Dan Hartley, an experienced camera operator who had worked with both Radcliffe and Holmes before.
Daniel Radcliffe almost directed David Holmes: The Boy Who Lived documentary, but decided not to for one key reason. Best known for his starring role in the Harry Potter franchise, Radcliffe’s most recent work sees him appearing in the documentary David Holmes: The Boy Who Lived, which he also executive produces. The documentary was released on November 15 and is available to stream on Max.
Radcliffe explains why he did not direct David Holmes: The Boy Who Lived, despite initially wanting to helm it. Speaking at a Q&A for the film (attended by Variety), Radcliffe explained that despite his thought that he “would know how to direct a documentary,” he quickly realized that this was not the case. So, he ceded his directing role. Check out the full quote from Radcliffe below:
I had always wanted to do something about Dave because I wanted to share him with the world for the person that he is. 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.
David Holmes: The Boy Who Lived Is Based on a Tragic BTS Story
David Holmes: The Boy Who Lived is based on the friendship between Radcliffe and former Harry Potter stunt double David Holmes. Holmes served as a stunt double for Radcliffe on the set of several Harry Potter films. In 2009, one of Holmes’ stunts went wrong, leading to a tragic accident that left Holmes paralyzed and with a cyst that is diminishing the mobility in his arms.
Given the sensitive nature of this subject shown in the trailer for David Holmes: The Boy Who Lived, it makes sense why Radcliffe would want to direct as he had a reportedly strong working relationship on set with Holmes. Having then maintained his friendship with Holmes after the injury, Radcliffe felt himself the best person to “share him [Holmes] with the world for the person that he is.”
As a would-be first-time director, however, it also makes sense why Radcliffe would not have been fully equipped to helm the film with the integrity that it deserves. Ultimately, the director role for David Holmes: The Boy Who Lived went to Dan Hartley. Though the documentary is only Hartley’s second feature, but is an experienced camera operator who had worked with both Holmes and Radcliffe before on the Harry Potter films. Luckily, David Holmes: The Boy Who Lived went to someone with a degree of closeness to the material, even if Radcliffe was not up for the task himself.