- 19 Sep 02
A once high-flying solicitor who was jailed for fraud, David Elio Malocco is now a budget film-maker with a strong anti-establishment view, a man who says he has swapped a "disgraceful" materialistic lifestyle for a social conscience. Here, he talks about crime, punishment, Sinn Fein, Shelbourne, God and the movies
“I have to be very careful what I say here,” David Elio Malocco confesses as he cautiously pulls up to my tape recorder in a quiet corner of the Clarence’s Octagon Bar. “I tend to get carried away. But I really don’t want to get involved in talking about things that happened eleven years ago.”
It’s understandable that the 46-year-old filmmaker doesn’t want to talk about his past, but also somewhat inevitable that he must. His first feature length movie Virgin Cowboys – the plot of which quite closely mirrors aspects of his own life – is currently doing the rounds of the international film festival circuit and garnering positive reviews – but it’s not as a film director that he first found fame, at least not on these shores. In the late ’80s and early ’90s, Elio Malocco (as he was then more simply known) was one of Ireland’s highest-flying legal eagles. Young, wealthy, well connected and hugely controversial, he was the nearest thing the rather fusty-dusty profession had to a bona-fide celebrity (square).
It had taken him an impressively short amount of time to achieve that status. Born and bred in Dundalk, the son of an Italian immigrant and Irish mother, Malocco graduated from UCD with a law degree and set up his first legal practice in 1977, at the tender age of 21. At 25, he married Jane de Valera, a granddaughter of one of the founders of the State, bringing him to the attention of the gossip columns, and also to the board of the de Valera-controlled Irish Press, which made him a fully-fledged director in 1985.