Director K. Asher Levin took a big gamble when he cast Thomas Jane and the actor’s daughter, Harlow Jane, in his feature film “Dig.” He knew they could handle the acting challenges but because the film mainly features four players, he could have lost half his cast if the father and daughter decided to rebel.

Levin never had any hesitations about working with the Jane gang. His instincts were right as all went well and “Dig” is now available through a variety of digital platforms.

“Thomas and Harlow were on this project very early on,” Levin says. “It was like they were father and daughter in the best ways but not like they were father and daughter on the set at all. They are both total professionals.

“Some of the performances they did together, you would have to go all the way back to ‘Paper Moon’ to find a better father and daughter performance.”

Levin discovered that by casting a real father and daughter to play a father and daughter allowed the actors to pull from their own real experiences to play their characters.

Those emotional connections helped the actors play characters dealing with extremely heavy emotional baggage. Thomas Jane plays Steve Brennan, a man with a temper who is trying to put his life back together after a road rage incident leaves his wife dead and his daughter (Harlow Jane) deaf. A year has passed but the resentfulness between the two is keeping the healing from happening.

Their battles become secondary when the father and daughter find themselves in deadly trouble when Brennan accepts a contract for a paying demolition job in the desolate New Mexico desert. He learns when he arrives that they are being forced by a mad man (Emile Hirsch) and his even more dangerous girlfriend (Liana Liberato) that they must dig up something hidden in the desert or be killed.

Thomas Jane attacked his performance based on the question of what are the chances of making things right again when a real tragedy happens. He says roles that are emotionally challenging bring out the flaws in human beings.

“I think a lot of guys – especially when they have a family to take care of – have been the breadwinners for years. A change happens when you no longer have a child but you have a miniature adult. She’s not quite and adult but thinks she’s an adult,” Jane says. “There is a moment in the life of a family man and a father where things start to shift in ways that are uncomfortable.”

Thomas Jane has had plenty of roles over the years that have had him deal with some deep and dark emotions. That ranges from starring in the action film “The Punisher” to the series “Hung.” His credits include the miniseries “Texas Rising” that also featured Harlow Jane.

Just like so many children of famous actors, Harlow Jane wanted to establish her career on her own. Her initial intentions were to not work with her father but he finally convinced her that their working on the same project would be a great “time capsule” for them.

Harlow Jane adds that the role in “Dig” was so good that she would have fought hard to land the part whether her dad was in the cast or not. It is a good thing she embraced the idea of playing the character because she was tasked with turning a performance where her character does not speak. That meant acting more with her face and body.

She found playing the deaf character came with its own unique set of challenges. Those challenges were magnified because she started working on the film without a lot of training.

“There was this technical challenge of learning ASL,” Harlow Jane says. “What it really taught me was the beauty of being able to lean into your instinct. To lean into your interior emotions and finding a way to let that come out of you in a way that’s not forced.”

Her dad is proud of what she accomplished because he knows how hard it is for an actor to play a role when there are no lines. He says that she was thrown into the deep end and showed just how much talent for acting she has.

Harlow Jane has not had a lot of opportunities to show off her acting skills in film and TV. Along with “Dig” and “Texas Rising,” her resume includes work on “I Love Us” and “High Desert.”

Another reason Levin was willing to cast the father and daughter was because he saw in Harlow Jane something that money can’t buy.

“She has a very expressive face and eyes that can really tell stories,” Levin says. “She is a very physical performer.”