Daniel Radcliffe almost made his directorial debut with the documentary “David Holmes: The Boy Who Lived,” about his “Harry Potter” stunt double who was left paralyzed after a tragic on-set accident.
At the London premiere of the HBO and Sky documentary, Radcliffe zoomed in from New York – where he is currently starring in the Broadway revival of “Merrily We Roll Along” – for a Q&A with Holmes and director Dan Hartley, in which he revealed that he initially decided to direct the film himself.
“I always wanted to do something about Dave because I wanted to share him with the world for the person he is. And Dave’s natural humility meant he was a little unsure about it for a while – he wanted to do something broader about stunts in general. But ultimately I kind of convinced him that he should be front and center,” Radcliffe said. “And we shot stuff because for some reason I thought – having never done anything like this before – that I would know how to direct a documentary. It turns out not. At all.”
Radcliffe and Holmes knew Hartley from his work as a videographer on the “Harry Potter” franchise and asked him to step in. Hartley previously directed the drama “Lad: A Yorkshire Story” in 2013.
“We wanted someone we knew who would connect to the material the same way we do. We were a little afraid that someone from the outside would come in with a little more salacious agenda,” Radcliffe said. “Dan had obviously directed a feature film before. He hadn’t made a documentary, but we trusted him a lot and we talked about all the documentaries we liked and we were on the same page. Then Dan filmed a few afternoons of interviews and showed them to us, and from then on it was very clear.
Radcliffe said that when he showed Hartley the footage he had shot, “he very kindly said, ‘If you want to make a documentary that you know looks good, you should probably do it again.’ ‘ That’s what we did, and he just hit the nail on the head and made the film that you see in front of you.
Radcliffe instead took on the role of executive producer on the film, which follows Holmes’ recovery after suffering a spinal cord injury during pre-production rehearsals for “Deathly Hallows Part 1,” as well as appearing in it. Variety Chief television critic Alison Herman praised the documentary in her review, writing that it is “an attempt on Radcliffe’s part to use his fame to shed light on the story of his friend – and navigating the complex mix of guilt, motivation and admiration both men stir up. contrasting and intertwined destinies.
As for what Holmes hopes viewers take away from the film, he referenced a lyric from Taylor Swift’s song “August”: “Living for the hope of everything.”
“(Hope) is the first thing you should seek and the last thing you should give up,” Holmes continued. “It’s a bit of a mess right now, isn’t it? And just to see the collective support that has allowed me to live my life and also what we can create when we all trust and love each other and are open – I think we should all be more willing to share our vulnerabilities. It’s what makes us human, and no one should be ashamed of it in any way. These are the scars of life that make us who we are. »
“David Holmes: The Boy Who Lived” is now available to stream on HBO and will premiere in the UK on Sky Documentaries and the NOW streaming service on November 18.
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