On her new series, “Mr. & Mrs. Smith,” Maya Erskine plays a character her fans may not have seen her inhabit before — a grown woman.

“I was so used to playing a 13-year-old with a bowl cut where no one would even glance my way,” says Erskine, speaking from the L.A. home she shares with her partner Michael Angarano and their baby son. She is best known for portraying a teenage version of herself on Hulu’s Emmy-nominated “Pen15,” where she reenacted the pains and joys of adolescence opposite comedy partner Anna Konkle.

Now, she’s updating the definitionally grown-up spy movie: “Mr. & Mrs. Smith,” the 2005 film, was about tradecraft as a metaphor for marriage — even before its two stars, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, ended up together in real life. The new version, launching Feb. 2 on Amazon Prime Video, remixes the story, pairing Erskine and Donald Glover as assassins forced to feign married life, and then finding the mission of marriage has both complications and appeal.

All of which offers Erskine the chance to trade in her bowl cut. “To think of myself as Maya, 13 — I’m so much more comfortable in that. I’m so much more comfortable when I don’t have to look pretty,” she says. “When there’s an expectation to look attractive, it makes me want to run the other way.” As such, Erskine’s spy is more lived-in than Jolie’s version, with notes drawn from Jane Birkin and ’70s-era Jane Fonda. “The inspiration,” Erskine says, “was to feel sexy without trying to be so glamorous and so perfect.” (As for the preparation for the role, “Donald and I worked out at the same gym, and he got massively ripped,” Erskine says with a laugh, “and I just needed to get to a point of being believably strong.”)

This marks Erskine’s first series-regular role since “Pen15” ended in 2021. On that show, she was co-creator and also took on writing and directing duties, an at-times punishing lift. On “Mr. & Mrs. Smith,” co-created by Donald Glover and Francesca Sloane, Erskine had to worry only about her performance. “I needed, for whatever the next project was going to be, to feel a bit of a relief,” she says. “It was nice to come home to just acting, and relying on the people who are creating it that have great taste and vision. You take care of it, and I’m just going to focus on this one thing.”

That one thing, though, is more boundless than it seems. Unlike Pitt and Jolie’s characters, known to each other as spouses before discovering one another’s double identities, Glover and Erskine’s characters meet on the job, then have to build a relationship. Plenty gets uncovered in the process of planning a future. “It was really nice to explore the other side of the coin of being the person who’s saying they don’t want kids,” Erskine says. “It’s really interesting in a relationship because kids aren’t something you can negotiate.” (Erskine became a parent in 2021; her son accompanied her to the “Smith” shoot in New York and Italy.)

Parenthood has restructured the creative process for Erskine. “When you’re younger, it’s easier to feed off of ‘Let’s keep working through the night!’” she says. “When you’re older, your priorities change. There’s got to be a way to make work good without having to kill yourself over it.”

This role, created over a six-month shoot, felt more sustainable, and may open doors for an actor who gets to show off her strong and serious side. Erskine is looking to a star turn and a story that, like “Mr. & Mrs. Smith,” delves into the complexities and inherent drama of marriage. “I want to play Gena Rowlands characters,” she says. “And one day, I want to do ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf ’? But I’m not there yet. I’ve got to live a lot longer.”