Idris Elba thought acting was ridiculous - until his ''beautiful'' drama teacher gave him the confidence to ''think outside the box''.

The 43-year-old 'Luther' actor went to an all boys school and although he was introduced to drama from a young age, it wasn't until he was 14-years-old that he got the confidence to get into character.

He told NME magazine: ''You go to a boys' school you're 14, drama is a bit like, 'what?' But it's a release, especially for boys ... [We had this] beautiful drama teacher who used her influence and beauty to make us think outside the box and go for it.

''I remember how impactful that was. I remember coming out of that class and thinking 'F***ing hell, man' and being given a slightly different confidence that I then put into other things.''

And Idris has certainly done that - outside of acting, he's a musician, a DJ and has played voiceover roles but he can't understand why more people don't try their hand at different things.

He said: ''In this country, being a jack of all trades is kind of frowned upon. That's fair enough. It's important to be focused.

''If you're focused at being a painter then do that, but I think it's also fair if you want to drive cars as well as be a painter then you should do that ... it's in trying things that you expand and learn. I'm intrigued by people who make things happen and think outside the box.''

Aside from his beautiful drama teacher giving him the confidence to act, Idris says he got his ambition from watching entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson build his Virgin empire.

He said: ''Richard Branson and his whole empire. That's fascinating that he found a cohesive way to make it all work. In England we're usually like, 'Turn it in, you're doing too much,' but he was a mentor, in a sense, for my ambition.

''I think that's what's happening to me. I've got all these strings to my bow. I'm not Virgin or anything but when I speak to kids, particularly boys of a certain age, they say 'You're an inspiration.' I don't even know if they've seen my films, but they see I'm doing something.''