The Oscar winner, 45, spoke with E! Live From the Red Carpet about why reprising her role as Cipher in F9 has been a welcome change in her career.
"This franchise allowed for me to come in and push beyond boundaries," Charlize explained at the movie's premiere on Friday, June 18. "Playing a character like Cipher, it allows for you to really go wild with it."
She went on to say F9 "allowed for me to be as crazy and as psychopathic as possible," noting, "Usually people don't allow me to do that. I have to fight for that. But they were like, 'Yes! Just the more crazy you can be, fantastic!'"
But the mother of two said she feels like there's a "revelation" in Hollywood when it comes to "complicated women and female characters" taking center stage in newer action films—even if they're "hard and abrasive" leading ladies.
"I feel like that's come alive during my career. I feel like in the last 10 years, we [have become] fascinated by women being complicated," she reflected. "So I feel lucky that I'm part of this change... because it wasn't that way when I started."
As Charlize recalled of her past parts, "Every character I played had to be likable or you can't go too far, and we don't have those conversations anymore, but the thing that we need to work on is we need to have more availability for more women to take on those roles."
Of course, Fast & Furious isn't the only time she's been able to strut her stuff as an action star. Her previous film, The Old Guard, dropped on Netflix last July, and it also put her stunting skills on full display.
Charlize revealed that The Old Guard actually affected Cipher's hairstyle in F9, because she wrapped the former just two days before she started on the car-crazed franchise.
"But I had short hair," she explained. "We didn't really think about a wig. That was my fault... The only thing we could do that was different was cut it into a bowl cut and light it up."
But that was then and this is now. During quarantine, it appears her hair had grown out into a blonde bob, which she rocked on the red carpet at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, along with a fabulous red fuzzy jacket, white tee and black leather miniskirt. "I had some friends come over and we were all so excited to makeup and heels on," the Bombshell star shared with E!.
See F9 on the big screen when summer's biggest blockbuster hits theaters on June 25.
(E! and Universal Pictures are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)