Josh Olson is an American screenwriter and director. Olson began his career working as a production assistant in the art department on the 1987 film Masters of the Universe. In 2006, he was nominated for the British Academy Award, the Writer's Guild Award, the USC Scripter Award and the Academy Award for his adapted screenplay for A History of Violence. However in a 2014 interview, "A History of Violence" star Viggo Mortensen said he read Olson's original version of the script and "was quite disappointed. It was 120-odd pages of just mayhem; kind of senseless, really." He only agreed to do the movie after meeting with the director David Cronenberg, who extensively reworked the script. "He should have actually taken a screenplay credit," Mortensen said, " because that 120-something pages ended up being about 72 pages, and that was him.”
In 2006, Olson was invited by author Harlan Ellison to collaborate with Ellison on an adaptation of the author's short story "The Discarded" for ABC's series, "Masters of Science Fiction." The episode stars Brian Dennehy and John Hurt, and was directed by Jonathan Frakes, and was the highest rated episode of the series. Olson is also one of the writers of a segment of the six-story "Batmanime," Gotham Knight, along with David Goyer, Brian Azzarello and others, contributing the script for "Have I Got A Story For You."
In 2007, Olson wrote an article called "The Life And Death Of Jesse James: An internet love mystery" about the alleged dating fraud activities of a woman named Janna St. James Priggie. The story is real and a civil action (still pending as of October 2011) was filed by the victim.
He was the first writer on Jack Reacher, for Paramount Pictures, part of the Jack Reacher series by Lee Child. The film starred Tom Cruise, Robert Duvall, and Werner Herzog. It was directed by Christopher McQuarrie. After an arbitration, the Writers Guild determined that Josh Olson deserved no credit for his work. In 2009, he wrote an article called "I Will Not Read Your Fucking Script" on the blog of The Village Voice.
He is currently writing a feature film whose working title is "Tabloid" for Mick Jagger.
- "The Viggo Mortensen Interview," The Guardian, May 17, 2014
- Josh Olson, The Life & Death of Jesse James. In LA Weekly, 2001-10-11, page found 2011-10-31.
- Piece of Fakey Blog by victim of "Jesse Jubilee James" scam, frequently updated with news about the court case.
- Siegel, Tatiana (2008-09-25). "Josh Olson scripting 'One Shot'". Variety.
- "I Will Not Read Your Fucking Script". Blogs.villagevoice.com.