Actor turned film producer Simon MacCorkindale tells Sarah Craske about his weekends at home with Susan George
I’ve practically forgotten what a typical weekend is like. Since I stopped acting and Susan and I set up our film company — Amy International — its become a seven-day-a-week job.
Generally, I’m an early riser. During the week, I have to get up at around eight and ifs pretty much the same at weekends. Susie is amazing. She wakes up, pops out of bed and gets going immediately. I take a little longer, but once I’m going you can’t stop me! I tend not to have a big breakfast. Eating is done with a certain degree of moderation these days, especially as life is more sedentary.
On Saturday mornings we often have to do some shopping. I hate having to do it at the weekend when everywhere is so busy, but it’s really the only chance we get. We rarely go into London itself, more often to one of the local towns near where we live in Windsor.
We love animals and kept two Irish setters for some time, one of which, unfortunately, had to be put down because he was so old. But we decided to breed the bitch and she’s had 10 puppies. Susie does most of the hard work there, though. I get into trouble if I’m not around to walk them and quite rightly so! Actually. I love going for long walks exercising the dogs, but it means a one- to two-hour walk on Saturday and Sunday. Fortunately, we’re blessed with a lot of good walks where we live — Virginia Water and Windsor Great Park are our favourites. The pups will be sold but we’ve decided to keep two.
It’s very much open house at the weekends. There always seem to be 900 people coming in and out for various reasons. Sometimes, I think it would be nice if things could slow down a bit.
I’ve lived in this house since I married Susie, five years ago, but its been her home for -14 years, so its very lived in. Fortunately, I’m handy around the house and, in the past, weekends have been spent doing things to it or working in the garden. But with the work schedule we’re currently on — promoting our film Stealing Heaven, which is now out, and working on other film projects — it has become impossible, so we’ve had to get people in. It frustrates me rather because workmen never do it as painstakingly as you would yourself.
Susie and I are based in England again now and don’t anticipate moving back to California in the foreseeable future. We’re in the process of selling our home in Los Angeles — its not worth keeping on a house if you’re not going to be anywhere near it. I much prefer England to Los Angeles — everything there wears a little bit thin after a while. Because there weren’t ever any family ties there, we tended to go away and escape most weekends. The outdoor life in California is wonderful. The weather’s always great and you can go down to the beach any time, but I really like seeing the different seasons which you just don’t get there.
Back here, I try and go jogging when I can. We’re both pretty sporty and a game of tennis with friends is another hobby of ours.
Saturday evenings, and Sundays too, are quite sociable. In our business, charity events, balls and award ceremonies often happen on those nights. Some of them can be quite enjoyable, but not all our friends are involved in the business.
Church on Sundays is one of the things that has slipped away of late. I used to go regularly but ‘10.30 am: Church’ is too much of a deadline. I don’t need dead lines at weekends. I have more than enough all week.
The two of us are very blessed with places and events we’ve been to and have a fantastic collection of photographs now which we spend time putting into albums, keeping all our memorabilia together. We’re very proud of our ‘scrap-books’ — its a pleasant pastime to pursue, one I find very relaxing. There seems no point in taking hundreds of pictures if they all end up in boxes and you can’t find them when you want to.
Weekends are the only opportunity to see both our families. Mine live in the Cambridge area, so its not too much of a drive. Its hard for people who live very ordered lives to understand that when you say you’ll be with them at 4 pm and don’t arrive until 6 pm (or not at all), then that’s par for the course. They’ve got used to it now and realise its just the pressure we’re under. I know there’ll come a time when the teething problems of our film company are over and we’ll have more time to ourselves. Susie’s parents live in the same village as us and Sunday lunch with them has been a regular event. Its always been a ritual in their family and is definitely something I’ve enjoyed getting into. Its usually a late lunch, around 3 pm, and its a great time for catching up on each other’s news. Sunday evenings are probably the calmest time, when Susie and I can finally sit down and relax together. We have some very close friends who might drop by, or we might get a video out. The only problem is I’m forever taking them home and putting them on a shelf, and forgetting them; then when I take them back I owe a fortune in overcharges. It depends on my mood as to what I like watching — even one of the Rambo or Rocky films sometimes!
I enjoy listening to music, too. I think its so restful. Opera is one of my great loves because I can really sit and dwell on it. But being a classical person doesn’t stop me going to a rock concert if someone happens to invite me, and enjoying it.
It takes me time to wind down at night. The Sunday papers often accompany me upstairs and I usually read them until one am before dozing off ready for Monday