Luther actor Idris Elba has spoken out about his terror after suffering an "overwhelming" asthma attack on a plane as he headed to the premiere of his new movie over the weekend.

The 41-year-old British actor, who missed a planned news conference in Johannesburg for his Nelson Mandela biopic, admitted that the attack was "very scary."

Contact Music quote the star as saying: "I've battled asthma most of my life and it just overwhelmingly took me down while I was on a plane. It was very scary."

The biopic tells the real-life story of the anti-apartheid leader's life journey from childhood to becoming the first democratically-elected president of South Africa.

Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom is due for release in January.