Former Hilton Head resident produces TV miniseries 'Courage, New Hampshire'

abredeson@islandpacket.comJune 24, 2013 

As he's gotten older, former Hilton Head Islander Jonathan Wilson said he has become more and more intrigued by history.

Wilson, who now lives in Pasadena, Calif., decided to put that interest to good use. He recently produced a TV show through his company, Colony Bay Productions. The four-hour original miniseries "Courage, New Hampshire" aired on the national TV network INSP on May 27.

Set during the American Revolution in a small fictional township on the frontier of the New Hampshire colony, "Courage, New Hampshire" tells the story of the Revolution from the perspective of the average resident of a small township. Wilson said "Courage" is a composite of many of the townships in that area.

The story centers around a justice of the peace named Silas Rhodes and his family. The first episode began with British deserters being arrested on the frontier. The handsome leading man, British Sgt. Bob Wheedle, deserts the British Army and joins the Sons of Liberty.

"It's a great snapshot of history," Wilson said. "And I think right now American history is very important. It's entertaining and a different perspective of that time in American history."

Wilson said they have a fabulous cast of British and American actors. One of the villains is played by Basil Hoffman, who appeared in the Academy Award-winning movie "The Artist."

The show is shot on a 760-acre apple and living history farm about 90 miles east of Los Angeles. The farm is owned by Wilson's partner, Jim Riley, the show's creator and writer. Riley also plays the justice of the peace.

Wilson said "Courage" is an independent production and was self-financed.

"It's tough to keep a show going with a little budget," Wilson said. "We're basically producing multimillion-dollar episodes on a budget of under $100,000 apiece. So we're producing lots of quality for little money."

Wilson said the second season will probably be released in the fall. Those interested in watching the original miniseries can visit www.colonybay.net.

In addition to producing the show, Wilson had a cameo in each episode.

A 1989 graduate of Hilton Head Preparatory School, Wilson is the son of Carol Wilson of Beaufort, and Jeff and Jeri Wilson of Hilton Head.

Wilson started his film career in the Lowcountry as a production assistant on "Something to Talk About," starring Julia Roberts and Dennis Quaid.

On top of his career as a producer, Wilson is also a real estate agent with Sotheby's International Realty in Pasadena.

Wilson's latest project is a TV series about the Civil War. He said some of it might be shot in the Lowcountry.

"I think a lot of us take for granted history ... being in the Lowcountry," Wilson said. "I was just back there for the Heritage and just rediscovered my passion for South Carolina and what an amazing history it has."

Follow Amy Coyne Bredeson at twitter.com/IPBG_Amy.

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