The Golden Compass movie web site has some concept art and a pretty flash alethiometer; got there via a steampunk blog called Brass Goggles, where you can find some alethiometer combinations that unlock hidden images on the movie site).
I see that Daniel Craig (Lord Asriel) isn’t the only actor from the last James Bond movie on the cast; Eva Green, the exotic beauty de jour is Serafina Pekkala. I don’t have much of an opinion about the rest (Ian Cocksuckers McShane as an evil CGI polar bear? Yeah, whatever). The one case of obvious casting is Lee Scoresby; I bet Sam Elliot’s deamon would also be a Hester.