You will probably recognize some of the names: Ed Asner, in his final film role before his recent death. Academy Award winner Louis Gossett Jr.

You might have heard of a few others: Christina Ricci, from numerous movies and tv shows (“Prozac Nation,” “Ally McBeal”). Sheryl Lee (TV’s weird “Twin Peaks”). Jeri Ryan (“Star Trek: Voyager” and other programs).

And if all those names are just John Doe to you, don’t worry. John Doe is in the movie, too. Doe (born John Nommensen Duchac) is the stage name for a member of the punk rock band “X,” who also does movies and TV.

But you won’t see any of those actors in the upcoming movie they’re all in, entitled “Unplugged”

You’ll just hear them.

The logo for Unplugged, the movie.

Asner, Gossett, Ricci, Lee, Ryan and yes, John Doe, are among the leading voices in “Unplugged,” an animated film currently being developed by Evanston resident Paul McComas.

McComas, a writer, teacher, producer, director and Northwestern alum (MA, 1984) is working with Hollywood names while living in Evanston.

“My stuff is quirky,” McComas tells Evanston Now. “That’s why I stayed in the heartland” and worked at first on short films.

“Unplugged” will be his first full-length feature. Animated? Yes. A cartoon for kiddies? No.

McComas’ website says “Unplugged” is “a story of depression, recovery, and self-reinvention.” Disney it ain’t.

The film is based on McComas’ 2002 novel of the same name, and focuses on a female rock star who walks away from the limelight, and whose journey nearly leads to suicide.

Unplugged, the novel.

McComas says he was able to land some big names by having a relatively small budget. Animation costs a lot less than live action.

While “Unplugged” is under way, it still has a long way to go.

Independent producers don’t have a huge studio financing their projects. McComas is first working on a “sizzle reel,” a short trailer/preview which can be shown to potential sources for financing.

That mini-film may not be finished until the end of 2022. It could then take another year to shop the trailer around for fundraising.

Then, assuming the money is raised, McComas says it may be until 2025-26 for the full film to be produced and ready for distribution.

“This is a long game,” he acknowledges.

McComas has been in this long game since childhood in Milwaukee, making his first movie at age 11, a horror flick about monsters.

As for “Unplugged,” McComas had been thinking for years about turning the novel into a film.

Finally, in October 2020, on his 59th birthday, McComas said to himself “do you want to make this movie or not.”

The answer was yes. Networking helped connect McComas with actors who would become his voice talent. Jeri Ryan, for example, is also a Northwestern graduate (1990).

“It was really fun having a mini-NU reunion with Ryan,” McComas says. “It was nice to have a Northwestern connection in Hollywood.”

Co-producers Sharon and Spencer Parks are also Evanstonians.

McComas knows full well the difficulties of independent movie production.

“I need the artist’s ego because there is so much rejection in this business,” he says.

But McComas has been accepted by a lot of talented people helping to make “Unplugged” come to the screen, be it the small screen through streaming, or a large screen in a theater.

“This is my dream team,” McComas says.

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.