Neil Gaiman on the carousel at House on the Rock

LOS ANGELES -- Wisconsin’s House On the Rock played a significant role in Neil Gaiman’s novel, “American Gods,” but it wasn’t featured prominently when the TV adaptation premiered two years ago on Starz.

That changes in the second season. Much of the cast made the trip to the site, just an hour west of Madison, to shoot an episode this past May. They were still marveling at the experience earlier this week.

“When you read Neil’s description of it in the book, you think it can’t possibly be weirder seeing it in person,” said Orlando Jones, who plays a trickster God on the series. ”But it far surpasses his description. That’s insane, because I didn’t think that was possible.” He was particularly blown away by the sight of a full-size blue whale being attacked by a giant squid.

“That one room gives you an indication of how wonderfully strange it is," Jones said.

Gaiman, who wrote the 2001 book in a lakeside cabin near Menomonie, Wisc., said he actually had to “un-weird” the popular tourist site to make it believable.

“As spectacular as it’s going to look on the screen, I still don’t think we’ve done it justice,” said Ricky Whittle, who plays Shadow Moon, the protagonist stuck in the middle of an escalating war between the old and new gods. ”It’s incredible.”

Wisconsin may be playing a major role in season two, which starts March 10, but Emmy winners Gillian Anderson and Kristin Chenoweth won’t be returning any time soon.

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