Idris Elba didn't work for three years as a youngster.

The 42-year-old actor moved to New York in the late 1990s in a bid to make his dream of becoming a Hollywood actor come true, but failed to secure any paid work for the lengthy period despite his desperation.

He revealed: ''I moved to America to start my career there and I didn't work for three whole years.''

The 'American Gangster' star revealed the fact during an epic 750 mile drive from London to Berlin in the new Jaguar XE - the company's most fuel-efficient car ever - which has been documented in a short film ( in which he mentions his career, which has seen him star in several blockbuster films including 'Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom', in which he played the title character.

Although the Golden Globe winner - who has a daughter named Isan, and a son, Winston - struggled for years to get any film or television roles, he insisted the thought of quitting the profession never crossed his mind because he didn't think he was capable of doing anything apart from acting.

He added: ''No I never thought about giving it up, ever ... But I couldn't see myself doing anything else.''