Jean-Marc Vallée, the acclaimed Canadian director, has confirmed his plans to make a movie on the ill-fated Franklin expedition.

He spoke of taking on the project in an interview Thursday morning with Radio-Canada's Marie-France Bazzo, just two days after the discovery of one of the long-lost ships in Canada's high Arctic.

It was nearly 170 years ago that Sir John Franklin's two ships became locked in the Arctic ice while looking for the Northwest Passage. All crew members perished, and the mystery of the missing ships has captivated Canadians ever since.

Film in the works for years

Vallée said he believes the latest discovery, of either the HMS Erebus or HMS Terror, makes the story even more captivating.

In 2009, Vallée bought the rights to The Proper Use of Stars, a book by Dominque Fortier, inspired by the Franklin expedition.

Franklin ship wreckage diagonal

A sea floor scan reveals one of the missing ships from the Franklin expedition. (Parks Canada/Canadian Press)

The book, which was shortlisted for a French-language Governor General's Award in the same year, examines what happened to Franklin and the other 128 crew members.

The story contrasts the gothic arctic narrative with one set in the refined world of tea parties and balls inhabited by Lady Jane Franklin, Sir John's wife in London.

Vallée has approached an American studio and a British screenwriter about the project, fuelling speculation the film could be on the same scale as Canadian director James Cameron's Titanic.

Either way, it will likely take years for the project to come together. 

Vallée's latest film, Wild, opened to rapturous reviews at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Last year, he brought Dallas Buyers Club to TIFF, solidifying his reputation as a gifted director, capable of extracting Oscar-winning performances from his actors. 

Vallée's next project is Demolition with Jake Gyllenhaal, Naomi Watts and Chris Cooper. 

With files from The Canadian Press