Eliza Dushku has a piercing laugh that comes across as a burst of unadulterated personality, emanating from her core. It’s in no small part that sense of ineffable genuineness — and, OK, those eyes — that helped make Faith Lehane, her character on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spin-off Angel, a fan favorite. Dushku will be back on the small screen in short order; she’s paired up with her Buffy boss Joss Whedon for the lead role in the sci-fi series Dollhouse, set to bow as a mid-season replacement on Fox in February. In the meantime, in Randall Miller’s genre knuckleball Nobel Son, Dushku plays the fetchingly named City Hall, an artistically inclined gal who spells trouble for Bryan Greenberg’s Ph.D. student after he becomes involved in a thorny kidnapping plot in the wake of his father receiving the Nobel Prize. Just in advance of the ensemble film’s release, Dushku spoke about Dollhouse, taking a knife to her Nobel Son audition, and what sort of Christmas gifts might comprise her seasonal giving. For the full Q&A, from New York Magazine‘s Vulture, click here.