Idris Elba has been acting for years now, but he still gets surprised when someone recognizes him.

Elba chats to ET Canada’s Carlos Bustamante in a “One-on-One” special about whether there was a moment when he realized that people knew him.

He says of getting attention, “Weirdly enough, I think it comes in cycles,” adding that people in the public eye aren’t always in the public eye because it usually depends whether you have a film or album out, for example.

Elba tells us, “If you haven’t heard from them for a while, you might walk past them in the street because they’re not in your conscious state, you know?

“If I’m not in a film for a while, people might just walk past me quite easily.”

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The “Luther” star goes on, “The PR team always say you’re kind of three years on, three years off because the cycle of making something and then it coming out everyone’s like ‘oh yeah, that was great,'” adding that you then move on to a press tour and get back to work.

Elba says, “It takes a while before you’re back in the press cycle.”

Despite being surprised when he gets recognized, he admits that it’s been happening more recently.

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Elba tells Bustamante that lately he’s been more aware of the fact that “everywhere I go there’s someone that goes… [recognizes him.] That’s really a new thing for me. As long as I’ve been acting, I go to different countries and it’s like ‘oh, you know, you recognize me.’ I was somewhere and I was like ‘I can’t believe that I’m being recognized,'” saying it was somewhere in Europe.

The actor continues, “I just didn’t realize that they would have me on their radar [and] more recently, it’s become a thing.

“I don’t presume that everyone knows who I am, even though I’ve been acting for a long time. When I look in the mirror, it’s just a guy that was trying to be an actor. So if I walk into a restaurant in the middle of Belgium, I’m not expecting everyone to recognize me.”

Tune in to ET Canada’s One-on-One with Idris Elba on Friday, March 10 at 7:00 p.m. ET/PT on Global.