Link between Shrek, Notre Dame turns out to be myth - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Link between Shrek, Notre Dame turns out to be myth

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By Ed Greenberger

It doesn't take long to figure out why Notre Dame students call chemistry professor Graham Lappin "Shrek." The Scottish-born Lappin sounds exactly like the character. In fact, for years the rumor on campus has been Lappin was the inspiration for Shrek.

"Everyone likes to claim that they've had Professor Lappin, the inspiration for the person Shrek," said Sarah Matthys, who graduated earlier this month.

"I know that there are many, many students who believe this myth," said Lappin.

You might be wondering why. To answer that question, just hop online. You can find information all over the Internet about a quartet of references to Notre Dame in the original Shrek film.

The first apparent reference is the city of Duloc. Notre Dame's official name is Notre Dame du Lac, or Our Lady of the Lake. Plus, the school's student rule book is called Dulac, although Notre Dame's Dulac is spelled differently than Shrek's Duloc.

In Duloc, you'll find Lord Farquaad's castle, which some think looks a lot like Notre Dame's Hesburgh Library. But one could argue the only thing the two have in common is their basic shape.

And then there's Lord Farquaad himself. Legend has it he was named for Carroll Hall, a dorm that sits on the quad that's farthest from the center of campus. Hence, "far quad." Today's students think it's a term their predecessors might have used. But Notre Dame officials tell us Carroll Hall has never been called "far quad;" not even decades ago.

Those references might be a little bit of a stretch, but this next one is not. Early in the movie, there's a shot of the back of Shrek's vest, and right there, plain as day, is what looks like a diagram of the Golden Dome. That's tough to dismiss. But it brings up another question: who would have been responsible for these references?

We checked, and none of the film's dozens of directors, writers, producers or animators went to Notre Dame. So we got in touch with James Hegedus, the movie's production designer. Hegedus oversaw the entire look of the film, so he would know if there is a Notre Dame connection. When asked via email about Shrek's vest and the Golden Dome, Hegedus joked, "I can see the likeness in the vest to the Golden Dome. I also saw a likeness to it today in the clouds sailing above my house." Then he got serious, writing, "There was no intent in the design of the vest to have it resemble the Golden Dome."

So it looks like we have an urban legend on our hands. Which is fine with the man students call Shrek. Dr. Lappin always suspected he wasn't the inspiration for the character. But that doesn't stop him from playing it up.

"It's amazing how many ways you can weave 'Donkey' into a chemistry lecture," he said.

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