Michelle Kung
July 30, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

If you thought Will Smith’s mechanical foes in ”I, Robot” seemed particularly jiggy with it, there’s a good reason: Australian actor-dancer Paul Mercurio, a.k.a. ”Strictly Ballroom”’s rebellious hoofer Scott Hastings (below), was ”I, Robot”’s ”movement consultant.” Not only did Mercurio — who’s been acting in small films and on Australian TV since his 1993 breakout in Baz Luhrmann’s flick — devise a library of movements for the film’s CGI creations (which he demonstrated in a motion-capture suit), he also spent five months training actors and stuntmen to make like robots. ”It was quite weird to fly halfway across the world to teach people how to walk,” admits the former Sydney Dance Company member. Step one? ”Listen to the rhythm.”

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