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The Truth Behind Christopher Nolan’s Brother Using ‘Oppenheimer’ as a Criminal Codename

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With Christopher Nolan‘s Oppenheimer on the cusp of exploding into theaters everywhere, there’s a chance you may have come across a viral tweet claiming that the acclaimed filmmaker’s brother is a “fugitive hitman” who used the name of the scientist as a criminal codename.

While there are elements of the story that are undoubtedly true, the facts are arguably even more fascinating and no less bizarre, especially when the Oppenheimer in question isn’t even the one that inspired Matthew Nolan’s younger sibling to direct the blockbuster biopic starring Cillian Murphy.

The oldest of the three Nolan brothers is indeed a convicted criminal who was the subject of an unsuccessful extradition attempt to bring him from the United States to Costa Rica in 2009 for the purpose of a case relating to the murder of accountant Robert Cohen, with claims made that initial suspect Luis Alonso Douglas Mejia had hired Matthew for the purpose of carrying out a murder plot.

Image via Universal

However, Nolan was only accused of being a hired killer, but wasn’t formally charged or found guilty. That being said, he did use “Matthew McCall-Oppenheimer” as an alias. As much as it has the potential to repaint Christopher’s latest feature in an entirely different light, it was revealed as far back as 2010 that it was a deliberate ploy to ingratiate himself to potential targets as a link to South Africa’s diamond family of the same name.

So, even though Matthew Nolan didn’t play on the right side of the law, and he did assume the identity of a Mr. Oppenheimer, he was never convicted of being a contract killer or a murderer. Instead, he filed for bankruptcy in 2009, but was arrested by the FBI later that year and eventually charged with the death of Cohen by Costa Rican authorities.

Even at that, the extradition wasn’t approved because there wasn’t sufficient evidence, leading to the country eventually abandoning its request the following year. Things still managed to get even stranger, to be fair, with Nolan then attempting to escape jail using an elaborate plot that involved tying bed sheets together as a makeshift rope, a harness, a razor, and a clip for the purpose of unlocking handcuffs.

via Universal

He spent 14 months behind bars as a result of the botched escape, but whereas Newsweek claims that “his current whereabouts and condition are unknown,” The Daily Mail offers that “he and his wife – a Pilates instructor – and their sons live in a substantial four-bedroom townhouse in Chicago.”

From what we can gather, Matthew Nolan is neither a fugitive nor a hitman, although he is most definitely a criminal who used Oppenheimer – but not that one – as a codename. As you can imagine, neither Christopher nor Jonathan have ever made a public comment on their brother’s dealings, which isn’t going to change.




With Christopher Nolan‘s Oppenheimer on the cusp of exploding into theaters everywhere, there’s a chance you may have come across a viral tweet claiming that the acclaimed filmmaker’s brother is a “fugitive hitman” who used the name of the scientist as a criminal codename.

While there are elements of the story that are undoubtedly true, the facts are arguably even more fascinating and no less bizarre, especially when the Oppenheimer in question isn’t even the one that inspired Matthew Nolan’s younger sibling to direct the blockbuster biopic starring Cillian Murphy.

The oldest of the three Nolan brothers is indeed a convicted criminal who was the subject of an unsuccessful extradition attempt to bring him from the United States to Costa Rica in 2009 for the purpose of a case relating to the murder of accountant Robert Cohen, with claims made that initial suspect Luis Alonso Douglas Mejia had hired Matthew for the purpose of carrying out a murder plot.

christopher nolan oppenheimer
Image via Universal

However, Nolan was only accused of being a hired killer, but wasn’t formally charged or found guilty. That being said, he did use “Matthew McCall-Oppenheimer” as an alias. As much as it has the potential to repaint Christopher’s latest feature in an entirely different light, it was revealed as far back as 2010 that it was a deliberate ploy to ingratiate himself to potential targets as a link to South Africa’s diamond family of the same name.

So, even though Matthew Nolan didn’t play on the right side of the law, and he did assume the identity of a Mr. Oppenheimer, he was never convicted of being a contract killer or a murderer. Instead, he filed for bankruptcy in 2009, but was arrested by the FBI later that year and eventually charged with the death of Cohen by Costa Rican authorities.

Even at that, the extradition wasn’t approved because there wasn’t sufficient evidence, leading to the country eventually abandoning its request the following year. Things still managed to get even stranger, to be fair, with Nolan then attempting to escape jail using an elaborate plot that involved tying bed sheets together as a makeshift rope, a harness, a razor, and a clip for the purpose of unlocking handcuffs.

via Universal

He spent 14 months behind bars as a result of the botched escape, but whereas Newsweek claims that “his current whereabouts and condition are unknown,” The Daily Mail offers that “he and his wife – a Pilates instructor – and their sons live in a substantial four-bedroom townhouse in Chicago.”

From what we can gather, Matthew Nolan is neither a fugitive nor a hitman, although he is most definitely a criminal who used Oppenheimer – but not that one – as a codename. As you can imagine, neither Christopher nor Jonathan have ever made a public comment on their brother’s dealings, which isn’t going to change.

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