Actor Ben Rosenbaum talks about his hopes for Hickam’s future on When Calls the Heart.
Ben Rosenbaum portrays fan favorite Michael Hickam on the Hallmark Channel series When Calls the Heart. Likewise, Ben has also endeared himself to the fans aka “Hearties”. Ben is masterful when it comes to live tweeting the show with just the right gif to reflect every scene.
Viewers are drawn to Hickam’s loyalty to both Rosemary and Lee. Truth be told, he clearly had a bit of a crush on Rosemary early on! Now Hickam has pledged to work for Henry Gowen in the oil business. How does that reflect on Hickam’s character? Some fans may have been surprised, or even a little sad, to see Hickam take his work in a new direction.
Ben Rosenbaum generously shares insights on Hickam’s decision to leave the sawmill. He also addresses some other burning questions, like where the heck does Michael sleep at night? Read on to learn about this and more in my interview with the delightful Ben Rosenbaum.
Where does Hickam’s loyalty to the Coulters stem from originally? Do you think it’s really just money that steers him away to Gowen?
Ben: There’s been a really nice through-line for Hickam and the Coulters, and I think the affection for them grew organically from time spent together and mutual goals/interests. They’ve been kind to Hickam and he’s been putting both Rosemary’s and Lee’s needs ahead of his own for almost the entirety of their relationship.
Lee is really a dream boss (and Kavan is a dream scene partner), but there wasn’t really room for Hickam to grow at the sawmill, whereas the opportunity with Gowen promises not just more money but the opportunity for new challenges and to be in on the ground floor of a brand new business. I think it is that possibility of growth opportunity and the excitement of building something from the ground up (and all the challenges and benefits that go along with that) that really enticed Hickam to jump ship.
Of course there isn’t time in the show to get into all those character motivations, but hopefully we’ll see more of it in Season 7. Hickam will be branching out and putting himself first for a change (in a healthy way I think), but the affection for the Coulters will never go away.
Originally, it seemed like Hickam had a little innocent crush on Rosemary. Now he seems a little more intimidated by her? Is that a fair assessment?
Ben: Haha, yeah, that’s fair to say. Hickam being susceptible to Rosemary’s charm was really a decision I made in my first one on one scene with Rosemary in season 2. In season 1, Hickam was working in the mercantile when Rosemary arrived in town and I had a scene where my role was essentially to be distracted by her beauty.
So when Hickam popped back up in season 2 nervously agreeing to help her (while facing down the fear of losing his job) it seemed like a natural fit to believe he still harbored that feeling from seeing her for the first time.
Hickam will always have a soft spot for Rosemary, but that specific relationship naturally evolved as Rosemary and Lee’s romance grew. I would say it is now at a place of great respect (and, yes, a little intimidation when she’s in a mood to get things done).
If Hickam did not work at the sawmill (or the petroleum company), what other job in Hope Valley would his skills would be best suited for?
Ben: Hickam is a bit of a Renaissance man. I really think he could do anything and I hope the writers just keep adding to his list of skills, haha! The only thing it seems he can’t do (at least to Rosemary’s standards) is corral those doves and play the trumpet well.
He’s already worked at the mercantile, and in various capacities for Coulter industries. He won an acting role in the film that came to Hope Valley, he built an impressive dollhouse, and he’s a member of the town band. (What he lacks in talent for music he makes up in good attendance, haha!).
He’s very handy and has a talent for engineering and architecture. Between building a stage for Rosemary, drawing up plans and building the fireworks launch platform, the dollhouse, and the town’s Christmas parade float, he has shown that.
He’s obviously had some decent education and earned his way into an administrative position at the mill. Now Gowen has recognized leadership potential in Hickam as well, so the oil boom in Hope Valley is a promising area of growth for him!
I’m not sure we’ve seen Michael at home. Do you think he lives in town or on his own piece of land?
Ben: Fantastic question! I think he’s probably lived pretty modestly as a bachelor in Hope Valley, maybe a small house or room in town. I’d like to imagine he has dreams of building a house of his own design, and with oil money on the horizon maybe he’ll get a chance to do that.
I guess exploring Hickam’s home life hasn’t been the top priority for the show so far, but I’d bet it’s pretty, well, actually probably pretty boring. But who knows? The writers have great imaginations and I’m sure they can make anything interesting!
Fans would love to see more of Hickam. What aspect of his life would you like to see explored more on the show?
Ben: Thank you for saying so! I really appreciate seeing that support from the Hearties, it means a lot to know Hickam is making an impact. I’ve seen a lot of calls for Hickam to have a romance, and I have to admit I see a lot of potential in that for a sweet and funny courtship, that could be a lot of fun.
Selfishly I’d love to get Hickam into some action sequences, but that may not make the most sense. Really any opportunity to expand Hickam’s world is welcome to me, and the shift over to the oil business may be that opportunity for growth and change.
It was genuinely sad to me to see that Hickam was leaving Lee’s employ, but I welcome the chance to see Hickam in a new environment and maybe even a different status in town.
Who would most likely win a game of Scrabble between Lee, Bill, Henry and Michael?
Ben: Ooooooooohhhh, I think Hickam might actually have a decent shot given his curious mind and intelligence, but if there were any gambling or stakes involved that would ruin it for him.
He’d melt into a puddle of nerves and never even see his triple word score opportunity!!!
Honestly though, all of us guys would be crushed by Elizabeth or Fiona. They are book reading machines, both of them!
Who would most likely win a pie baking contest between Kavan, Jack, Martin and Ben?
Ben: Absolutely Kavan without a doubt. I say that having no idea what Jack and Martin can do in the kitchen, but Kavan is an elite level chef and baker and he takes great pride in the food he makes.
It’s hard for me to imagine Martin baking, but if it were an activity that could be done in the gym, I could see it, or maybe if he was making a healthy protein pie, haha.
Jack does a convincing job of competent cooking as Bill in the kitchen at the cafe, but I attribute that more to his ability as an actor than as a baker.
When I asked Ben for the interview, I had no doubt that his answers would include some great humor! I also really appreciate the thoughtful insights he shared about his character and the show.
I can certainly sympathize with the long wait for season 7 of When Calls the Heart, but hopefully Ben’s words give you a little boost while you wait. Meanwhile, new spinoff series When Hope Calls arrives this summer on the Hallmark Movies Now streaming service.
Thank you so much to Ben Rosenbaum for taking time to tell us a little more about our beloved Michael Hickam!
Writer, interviewer in metro Atlanta. Always ready to talk TV and movies. Wife, mom, special needs advocate.