Fresh off his directorial debut, Ben Affleck says he's found his calling.

"In the beginning part of wanting to be a director was just a natural extension of acting," said Affleck, whose movie "Gone Baby Gone" opens Friday. "But now this feels like what I am, or what I want to be, it's so satisfying and exhilarating.

"In fact, the central preoccupation of my life right now is trying to find another movie to direct," he told The New York Times for a story in Sunday's editions.

Affleck co-wrote the script and directed "Gone Baby Gone," a crime thriller set and filmed in Boston about the search for an abducted 4-year-old girl.

He told the newspaper he included as many locals as he could in the film, people plucked off the street or discovered in bars, even for speaking roles. One woman was cast as a beer-drinking smart-mouth after approaching him and saying, "I should be in your movie."

"I wanted something raw and authentic and even a little scuffed up," said Affleck, who grew up in the area. "People go to the movies to see something they can't get otherwise, and I thought this was a chance to take you somewhere that you couldn't otherwise get to the Boston you never see in the movies."