Aftermath of a Stunt Gone Wrong

Courtesy Raelene Chapman

Scott McLean is “re-learning everything” months after a brain injury on “Hangover II.”

It’s been a long two months since the Dec. 17 accident on the set of Warner Bros.’ The Hangover Part II that left stuntman Scott McLean with a severe brain injury. But for Raelene Chapman, his partner of 13 years, Feb. 10 stands out as the most important day of his recovery so far: It’s when McLean smiled for the first time.

“One of his friends walked in the room, and his eyes lit up,” Chapman tells THR in her first interview. “And there was that infectious smile for the first time. It was the best thing I’ve ever seen.”

The accident on the Thailand set shocked Chapman, herself a professional stuntwoman who was visiting McLean at the time. The Australia native, 40, was performing a stunt as Ed Helms’ body double in a scene involving passing vehicles that collided. Following the accident, he was placed into a medically induced coma to combat brain swelling. “Not many people expected him to make it through the first night,” Chapman says. “It was life or death those first nights.”

But perhaps due to McLean’s physical shape (he never touches alcohol, cigarettes or drugs) or the immediate medical care, he made it through the early days, with Chapman a constant presence at his bedside. “A week into it, I thought, ‘OK, we’ve got a shot here,’ ” she says. “He’s not going to die.”

Warners has paid for everything from hospital bills to flights for visiting family — “They’ve been amazing,” Chapman says — and the film’s stars and crew have pitched in with moral support. Long-term effects won’t be known for months, but McLean has progressed to the point where he recently was transported to a hospital in his hometown of Sydney, in the hope of beginning rehabilitation. He has yet to speak but can eat on his own, hold a cup by himself and drink. “It’s basically re-learning everything like when you were a child,” Chapman says.

The stuntman is even able to be affectionate with his partner. “He holds my hands. He rubs my shoulders. He puckers up his lips and kisses me, which is so cute,” she says. “He loves the kisses.”