Author of the original novel Rudolfo Anaya was a frequent visitor to the set and was treated like royalty by cast and crew, because a majority of both were natives of New Mexico and grew up on the novel.
Actor Manuel J. Baca Vaquero #2 became such a fan of the novel that he was always on the look out for the opportunity to see it become a play or film. As luck would have it Baca was cast in a New Mexico wide touring production of Bless Me Ultima performing the character Prudencio Luna (Tony's Grandfather) this part was the combined with the part of Uncle Pedro for the purposes of the play. Baca also played the part of the overbearing Father Byrne complete with Irish dialect, in the traveling production. This all took place as Baca was gearing up to shoot his scene in the film.